Gunnedah Council and the NSW Department of Health to consult Gunnedah shire community about water fluoridation

OPEN FOR DISCUSSION: The Gunnedah Shire Council October council meeting was held at the Kelvin Hall on Wednesday. One of the major topics discussed at the meeting was water fluoridation. Photo: Billy Jupp
OPEN FOR DISCUSSION: The Gunnedah Shire Council October council meeting was held at the Kelvin Hall on Wednesday. One of the major topics discussed at the meeting was water fluoridation. Photo: Billy Jupp

The fluoride debate is back on the agenda with Gunnedah Shire Council once again considering whether or not to add fluoride to the shire’s water supply.

At its monthly meeting held at the Kelvin town hall on Wednesday night, council heard the NSW Department of Health had put forward a motion to consult with the community about water fluoridation.

Gunnedah is one of the last remaining areas in the state that doesn’t have fluoride added in the town’s water supply, with the controversial issue last rearing its head in 2014-15.

During the discussion at the council meeting, councillor Owen Hasler said surveying the entire community was pivotal before making a decision.

“I would feel more comfortable with a survey of the whole community,” Cr Hasler said.

Council voted in 2014 to seek funding from the health department to investigate the installation of fluoride in the water supply and the costs involved.

“I think this is where we need to stand up and be counted,” Cr Ann Luke said.

Councillor Gae Swain said ‘it has been a very contentious matter over many years”.

“This is the community’s chance to make a decision one way or another,” she said.

“This is the community’s chance to make a decision one way or another,”

Cr Gae Swain

The motion was approved by council. Now the Department of Health will consult with the public and submit a report to council at its December meeting about the progress of public consultation.

A website made by the department will also be launched in early-November to give residents more information about fluoridation.

Links to the site will also be available on the Gunnedah Shire Council website along with a fact-sheet to all ratepayers in early-November.

In February, 2018, the department will report to council with recommendations based on public consultation.

The recommendations will assist council in making the final decision, to either not accept fluoridation or to seek approval from NSW Health to commence fluoridation.