Opposition bid to force councils to fluoridate
NSW OPPOSITION health spokesman Dr Andrew McDonald has called on the O'Farrell Government to support legislation introduced in Parliament this morning to enforce mandatory water fluoridation on local councils.
Labor's proposed Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Amendment Bill 2013 would give the NSW Health Minister the power to order water authorities, such as Rous Water, to fluoridate the entire water supply under their control.
The legislation would take the power to fluoridate (or not) out of the hands of local government, and prevent a water supply authority from discontinuing fluoridation without State Government approval.
Under the proposed legislation, it is understood Byron Shire Council would be unable to remain fluoride free.
Dr McDonald said the current arrangement led to a situation where "local councils can be intimidated into opposing fluoride by a fringe element of the community."
Dr McDonald said NSW Chief Health Officer Kerrie Chant had been personally threatened on her recent visit to Lismore.
"You can't allow that to keep happening," he said.
"It's time for the NSW Government to step in and take control of the fluoridation of our drinking water."
The onus is now on the government to decide whether to support the legislation.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner was contacted for comment earlier today and is preparing a response.