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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson


    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Friday, March 14, 2008


    14 March 2008

    State Parliament last night overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing for the fluoridation of water supplies throughout Queensland.

    Health Minister Stephen Robertson thanked parliamentarians for their bi-partisan support of this important public health initiative.

    “Now that the Water Fluoridation Act 2008 has been endorsed by Parliament I look forward to getting on with the job of rolling out our program throughout Queensland,” he said.

    “A Queensland Health fluoride project team has already spoken to more than 100 local councils and early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

    “It is particularly pleasing that a number of councils have expressed interest in accessing water fluoridation ahead of schedule.”

    Mr Robertson said Queensland Health is currently conducting an audit of all Queensland water treatment facilities to identify the local issues and requirements for the $35 million state-wide rollout.

    “This audit will clarify the infrastructure requirements and logistical issues for local authorities, including the bulk purchasing of plant equipment," he said. 

    “Obviously a project of this scale requires close consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders across Queensland.

    “It is encouraging to work with local Councils who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get down to business on this long-overdue public health initiative.”

    Mr Robertson said the Water Fluoridation Act 2008 will replace the current Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1963.

    “Under this legislation, a statutory duty is placed on public water suppliers servicing communities of over 1,000 people, to add fluoride to the public water supply,” he said.

    “My department and the Department of Local Government have already met with the Local Government Association Queensland in the first of regular meetings to discuss the practicalities of fluoridating.

    “In addition a high-level Water Fluoridation Steering Committee, involving several agencies and chaired by Queensland Health, also started meeting last month to establish clear roles and responsibilities across Government to implement the fluoridation program.”

    Mr Robertson said the most recent investigation by the National Health and Medical Research Council last year found no connection between water fluoridation and ill-health effects.

    “Given the significant health benefits of water fluoridation the savings on our investment of $35 million will be recouped many times over,” he said.

    “For every dollar invested in fluoridation the estimated saving per person is between $12 and $80 in dental treatment costs.

    “Within two years, 80% of Queenslanders will have access to fluoridated water, increasing to more than 90% by 2012.”

    Water fluoridation will be phased into water treatment plants in the following local government areas (incorporating the new boundaries):

    2008: SEQ major water treatment plants - Mt Crosby (2 plants), Landers Shute (Sunshine Coast), Molendinar, Mudgeeraba and North Pine (54% estimated State coverage)

    2009: SEQ minor water treatment plants, Indigenous communities, commencement of Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Toowoomba Regional (80% estimated coverage)

    2010: Completion of Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay and Rockhampton; Fraser, Gympie, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, commencement of Dalby (83% estimated coverage)

    2011: Blackall, Emerald, Dalby completion, Goondiwindi, Hinchinbrook, Longreach, Mornington, Mt Isa, Murweh, North Burnett, Rio Tinto (Weipa), Tablelands, Whitsunday (92% coverage)

    2012: Balonne, Banana, Barcaldine, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Carpentaria, Charters Towers, Cassowary, Cloncurry, Flinders, Isaac, Roma, Toowoomba Regional completion (95% coverage)

    MEDIA: PAUL LYNCH 0417 728 676