IN TALKS: Gladstone Regional Council will discuss water fluoridation at today's meeting.
IN TALKS: Gladstone Regional Council will discuss water fluoridation at today's meeting. Crystal Jones

UPDATE: Council makes final decision on Fluoride debate

UPDATE 2.44PM: GLADSTONE Regional Council at its general meeting today elected not to reverse its decision from July 2016 to cease adding fluoride to the region's public water supply.

"Council considered the available scientific evidence on the matter did not provide significant cause to recommence a water fluoridation program."




Calls for water infrastructure reform.
Calls for water infrastructure reform. Contributed

EARLIER 5AM: THE fluoride debate will flow back into the council today with Gladstone region councillors set to discuss a notice of motion on water fluoridation.

It comes after Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor gave a notice of intention on September 20 proposing the matter of fluoride in the council's drinking water be added to today's agenda.

Cr Trevor pointed to a 2017 report from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Water Fluoridation and Human Health in Australia, which indicated community water fluoridation helped reduce tooth decay across the population.

The council will have two options to consider at its meeting.

One of those options is to advise the Gladstone Area Water Board that it supports the evidence of the National Health and Medical Research Council and supports the reintroduction of fluoride into council's water sources at Awoonga Dam and Yarwun treatment plants.

This option would require council to endorse an allocation of $150,000 for the reinstatement of fluoride dosing infrastructure at Awoonga Dam and Yarwun treatment plants with operational costs of $30,000 per annum thereafter.

The other option is to actively seek community feedback through a survey.

Cr Trevor had a third option, a referendum on the issue to be tied in with the upcoming council by-election, but this was knocked back by Electoral Commission of Queensland as it was not comfortable with the idea.

It could have allowed a potential councillor to campaign on a pro or anti-fluoride agenda.

The deputy mayor indicated he would take the community feedback option.

"I framed this notice of motion in a way that if council considers we should have public consultation before a decision is made then I would welcome that," Cr Trevor said.

"I welcome community views in relation to what decision council should make in relation to this important health issue."


Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor.
Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor. Mike Richards GLA040717BUGT

Cr Trevor said his decision to bring the matter back before council wasn't done "with the intention of upsetting, antagonising or hurting" people or councillors who believe fluoride shouldn't be reintroduced, instead referring to the research report.

"What distinguishes this from other reports is the committee comprised highly regarded experts in the fields of public health, oral health, epidemiology, child health, toxicology, cancer, bone biology, neuro development, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, water management and health ethics," he said.

"The fluoride reference group was not established - most importantly - on the basis of pro or anti-water fluoridation views.

"This (report) is new and it's important because it's independent and not orchestrated by any particular lobby group for or against fluoride.

"These experts have independently assessed the evidence gather over many many year and have now formed the view that water fluoride should be introduce and reintroduced in all water supplies around Australia.

"I want council to consider this independent report available to us after the decision was made in 2016."

The water board ceased fluoridation of the council's water supply at the Gladstone and Yarwun water treatment plants on August 25, 2016.

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