Local anti-fluoride battle may be lost but the war continues

DRINKING-water across the Northern Rivers will be fluoridated within 18 months after anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack lost his final legal bid to stop the construction of five fluoride-dosing plants.

The NSW Court of Appeal yesterday unanimously ruled in favour of Rous Water and Ballina Shire Council, giving the go ahead to plants at Knockrow, Clunes, Corndale, Dorroughby and Marom Creek.

"Our process has been proven to be very robust," Rous Water general manager Kyme Lavelle said. "I'm glad a decision has now been reached and we can now proceed with the matter."

Mr Oshlack, who was ordered to pay court costs of more than $300,000 to Rous and Ballina Council, initiated legal action in 2012 when the water authority gave the go-ahead to fluoridation under threat of legal action by the NSW Department of Health.

The appeal followed an adverse ruling by the Land and Environment Court.

Speaking to The Northern Star before he had been notified of the court's verdict, Mr Oshlack said he would seek legal advice before deciding on his next step.

He said he was concerned that the court did not examine evidence about the health impacts of fluoride.

"We weren't confident we would be successful (in the appeal)," he said.

"This was a political decision and what we need now is a referendum or a plebiscite like Lismore did with CSG so the people can decide."

Meanwhile, Lismore Greens councillor Vanessa Elkins yesterday said she has had discussions with her state parliamentary colleagues about proposing a private members bill to examine current legislation regarding fluoridation.



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