Rous head ‘should resign’ over fluoride, says campaigner

Anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack
Anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack Jacklyn Wagner

ANTI-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack has called on the head of Rous Water to resign over confusion around the question of a legal requirement to fluoridate the region's water supply.

Mr Oshlack said instead of chasing him to pay the estimated $300,000 in costs awarded to Rous following his loss in the NSW Court of Appeal last month on his bid to stop the construction of five fluoride-dousing plants, Rous general manager Kyme Lavelle should quit.

Mr Oshlack said his opinion was that Mr Lavelle had a moral and ethical responsibility to resign.

His comment came yesterday after he had decided not to appeal the case further.

However, Mr Lavelle responded by telling The Northern Star he took his position seriously and stood by the process Rous followed.

"Council acted in accordance with legal advice which covered a range of issues including directions and

How The Northern Star broke the story of Rous councillors who were told they could face legal action if they voted against fluoridation.
How The Northern Star broke the story of Rous councillors who were told they could face legal action if they voted against fluoridation.

approvals from the State Government," he said.

"Only part of that advice was challenged and council successfully defended four out of five grounds of appeal.

"The one ground on which council was not successful was held by the court not to have any consequence for the validity of council's assessment and decision-making process."

Mr Lavelle tabled the legal advice just before councillors voted on fluoridation in April 2010. Chairman Philip Silver used his casting vote to pass the motion five to four.

Voting intentions changed dramatically following the tabling of the advice that said councillors would be personally liable for fines until fluoridation was approved.

At the time councillor David Yarnall, who changed his vote based on the advice, said: "I find this extremely distressing as it takes away our democratic rights. I unfortunately feel we have no alternative at this stage."

While the NSW Appeals court found against the bid to stop the plants, it did find the legal advice was erroneous, but it didn't invalidate the vote by Rous councillors.

Topics:  fluoride rous water

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