Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

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Fluoride question resolved

21 February 2018

Bega Valley Shire Council will seek approval from the Secretary of NSW Health to extend the state funded, fluoridation program to all public water supplies within the Shire, after today’s Council meeting provided a resolution to this long-running issue.

The decision of Council comes on the back of a detailed community information process and a recent community survey that was undertaken to determine a statistically valid community view on the subject.

Conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC), a business unit of the Australian National University, the survey asked “Do you agree with adding fluoride to the public drinking supply to try to prevent tooth decay?”

The results of the survey were made publicly available on 29 January, with the key results being:

  • More than half of the residents surveyed rely on the public water supply as their normal source of drinking water (57.5%). The second most common source was rainwater (24.6%).
  • In response to the survey question, 66.2% responded ‘yes’, 28.4% responded ‘no’, 5.2% were unsure and only 0.2% preferred not to respond.
  • Respondents who reported their main source of normal drinking water to be the public supply were significantly more likely to be in agreement with the suggestion of adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply (77.1%), in comparison with respondents who have another normal source of drinking water - such as bottled water, a combination of different sources or something else (51.5%).

With the resolution in the affirmative, Council will now proceed in accordance with Section 6 of the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957 and work closely with the NSW Department of Health towards implementation.

In practice, the implementation process will require extensive capital asset construction (fully funded by the NSW State Government); human resource considerations and staff training; and policy and procedures reviews, meaning that it is expected to be a number of years before the Tantawanglo-Kiah and Brogo-Bermagui water supplies come in line with their sister Bega-Tathra supply, that has been fluoridated since 1963.


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