Gunnedah Shire Council, NSW Health call on community to comment on Gunnedah water fluoridation

Residents to have their say on fluoride debate.

Residents to have their say on fluoride debate.

RESIDENTS can now officially have their say on mounting calls for Gunnedah Shire Council to pursue water fluoridation of the local water supply.

NSW Health has been working with Gunnedah Shire Council (GSC) to consider fluoridation of the Gunnedah town water supply.

Council endorsed a recommendation for NSW Health to undertake community consultation regarding the fluoridation process and implementation at its October Ordinary Meeting.

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

“Over the next two months, NSW Health will provide the Gunnedah community with information about water fluoridation,” GSC Acting Director Infrastructure Services Edward Paas said.

“The community will have an opportunity to have their say through submissions during this consultation process.

“A fact sheet prepared by NSW Health has already been distributed with Gunnedah Shire’s quarterly rates notices to give our community access to information on the matter. A website with further information and to accept submissions has also been launched by NSW Health to make it easy for our residents to have their say.”

If introduced, this would also apply to the Curlewis water supply following the planned Curlewis Pipeline Project.

A Fairfax Media poll revealed residents were divided on the proposal, with 59.8 per cent of votes cast against fluoride being added to the shire’s water supply, and 35.95 per cent in favour.

But Gunnedah Dental Centre’s Dr Mary Jane Bateman told the NVI last week water fluoridation would help ease the burden of dental health.

A NSW Health spokesman echoed the sentiment.

“NSW Health is encouraging council to pursue water fluoridation to allow the Gunnedah community to receive the proven benefits of fluoride that have been available to most of NSW for nearly 50 years,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the NVI today.

“Adding fluoride to drinking water helps to reduce tooth decay, and has no negative health effects.

“Studies estimate that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation, between $7 and $18 is directly saved in avoided dental treatment costs. The NSW government would provide a 100 per cent subsidy for the cost of constructing a fluoridation system at Gunnedah.”

Following the consultation period, NSW Health will prepare an independent report for GSC to make a final decision. Submissions can be made until December 8 by visiting www.gunnedahfluoride.com.au