MEMBERS of anti-fluoride groups have responded to new fluoride legislation proposed by NSW Labor’s shadow health minister Walt Secord.
Labor’s proposed legislation will bring laws into effect which will give the NSW health minister additional powers to direct local councils and water authorities to add fluoride to their drinking water supply.
The proposed changes follow Gunnedah Shire Council’s (GSC) decision to fluoridate the town’s water supply in December.
Administrator of the It’s ok to say no to fluoride in Gunnedah’s water Facebook group Wendy Carpenter said the proposed legislation is “disappointing”.
“I thought Australia was a democratic country where we can make our health decisions, not a dictatorship,” Mrs Carpenter said.
“It is very disappointing that Mr Secord wants to force all NSW councils to be fluoridated and massively fine those councils that don’t want to fluoridate.”
In a statement announcing the proposed legislation, Mr Secord took a stand against fluoride opponents.
“Fluoride is one of the great public health achievements and it is mind boggling that any group would oppose its introduction,” Mr Secord said.
“The proposed new laws are sensible and give the health minister the power to direct a recalcitrant local water authority to put fluoride into the community’s drinking water.”
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Mrs Carpenter responded to the comments by highlighting the amount of nations around the world that are without fluoridated water.
“If Mr Secord thinks it is mind-boggling that anyone would oppose fluoridation, he must be totally blown away that so many countries, 95 per cent of the world’s population, do not fluoridate water and yet have just as good teeth as fluoridated countries,” Mrs Carpenter said.
“When someone uses ridiculous slander in their argument, it really shows how weak their case is.
“If they were actually confident in their evidence, that it alone could stand up to scrutiny, they would not have to resort to such extreme measures and penalties.”
The proposed legislation will provide a number of measures, including increasing the maximum penalty for offences under the Act (which includes the failure to comply with a direction to add fluoride to a public water supply) from $5,500 to $50,000 and from $550 to $5,000 for a maximum daily penalty for a continuing offence.