Queensland Health wrote to a number of councils in June proposing to remove water supply schemes from the Fluoridation Regulation where particular difficulties have been demonstrated (including complex infrastructure) which would have hampered the safe implementation of fluoridation.
There has also been some media around fluoridation recently following a statement by Premier Newman in parliament with some councils subsequently announcing their intention to seek exemptions from the requirement to fluoridate.
"Certainly, we would not be removing it from any location where it exists already, but the idea of forcing certain communities right now to put it in and incur the cost, that is something I am more than happy to have a look at," Mr Newman said.
"What the former premier Anna Bligh did was, as usual, impose costs on ratepayers through local communities.
"It is very expensive infrastructure and there are ongoing operating costs, and particularly if the communities were against it." [source]
Fluoridation is clearly a sensitive political issue in many communities. qldwater (on behalf of its members) argued against the approach to introducing a blanket fluoridation program under the former government due to a number of obvious problems which are now being realised. Subsequently, we have worked with members to assist in safely implementing the policy and legislation, and in lobbying for due consideration of legitimate exemption requests along with appropriate financial support from the State.
Premier Newman’s latest announcement is yet to be clarified and there are no guidelines or process as yet for evaluating new requests from councils. Given that a number of concessions had been offered in recent weeks which had not been publicly announced, there may be no further change.
More information will be provided as it is made available.