Fluoride issue major toothache for Lismore councillors
EVER since Lismore council voted to change its position on fluoride last month, the issue has been festering away like a rotting tooth.
Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran a scathing story and editorial attacking the Lismore councillors who voted not to fluoridate and there were calls for the State Government to intervene.
Then the local GP Network and other Lismore doctors entered the debate, urging councillors to reconsider their position.
Ballina council also revisited and reaffirmed its stance to proceed with fluoride, and now Byron deputy mayor Dianne Woods is calling on Byron councillors to put the issue back on the agenda.
At its meeting tonight Lismore City Council will vote on a rescission motion that is likely to see its position change back to supporting fluoridation.
There is a raft of other motions on fluoride before the council, with Councillor Neil Marks calling for all sides of the fluoride debate to be presented to the council by qualified health professionals and scientists. He is asking that no decision be made until after these workshops.
Cr Graeme Meineke is asking that the council reaffirms its 2006 decision to advise Rous Water to proceed with fluoride, and that Lismore council write to the State Government requesting a direction in relation to the addition of fluoride to Lismore's water supply.
And finally Cr Vanessa Ekins, who put up the original motion not to proceed with fluoride, is now asking that if fluoridation proceeds the council requests the costs be met by the State Government. "It will cost us (Rous Water) $300,000 a year just to put the chemicals in the water. The budget at Rous is as tight as tight. We haven't allocated any money for that and we don't know where it's going to come from," Cr Ekins said.
"It's a classic case of cost shifting. The State Government has stopped the school dental visits and now expects us to pay for health programs which they are responsible for. It's wrong."
Cr Ekins said if Rous Water was forced to pay for ongoing costs of the fluoride dosing plants, it would come at the expense of other programs.
She said maintenance was another costly issue, with the dosing plant in Casino breaking down several times in its few years of operation.