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Court dismisses action on plants

Cassandra Taylor, of Lismore, drinks from one of the water bubblers in Woodlark Street, Lismore.
Cassandra Taylor, of Lismore, drinks from one of the water bubblers in Woodlark Street, Lismore. Jerad Williams

THE fluoridation of water in the Lismore and Ballina council areas looks set to go ahead after the Land and Environment Court yesterday dismissed an appeal aimed at overturning approvals for the practice.

In a 40-page judgment, released last night, Justice Rachel Pepper dismissed an appeal brought by Al Oshlak over claims Rous Water and Ballina Shire Council's approval of plans to build dosing plants to provide fluoridated water to Lismore, Ballina and Wardell.

Among the claims levelled by Mr Oshlak was an assertion Rous Water had wrongly believed, and told, councillors they could be legally liable for not approving the construction of fluoride dosing plants after being instructed to do so by NSW Health.

Justice Pepper did not comment on the reliability of the legal advice received by Rous, saying "there is nothing in the statutory power being exercised by the Council prohibiting consideration of arguably incorrect legal advice".

As well as finding against his appeal, Justice Pepper also ordered Mr Oshlak pay Rous Water and Ballina council's costs.

Mr Oshlak is expected to make a statement on the judgment this morning, although earlier yesterday he hinted at an appeal if Justice Pepper's decision went against him.

Rous Water chairman and Ballina Shire Mayor Phillip Silver said the councils could now get on with building the fluoride dosing stations.

"This matter has been in the court since early 2010 and I am pleased Justice Pepper found in favour of Rous Water and awarded costs against Mr Oshlak," Cr Silver said.

"It will now allow us to call for tenders for the construction of the fluoride dosing plant and I expect the project will be completed in approximately 12 months," he said.

"When completed residents of Ballina, Lismore and Wardell will have fluoride in their water supplies."

Topics:  court, environment court, fluoride plants


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