The Bega Shire Fluoride debate pustulates

Dear Beagle Editor,

Our latest media release for your Bega Shire readers to consider. inviting betrayal …

The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) cannot recall a more deliberate & cynical betrayal of public trust than that reflected in the report to next week’s meeting of Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC), supporting the fluoridation of those elements of the shire’s drinking water supplies not already subject to treatment.

The highly partisan report supporting the push by NSW Health to fluoridate the shire’s drinking water supplies falsely advises council that it has only two “realistic” options open to it in considering the matter: to resolve to extend the addition of fluoride to all drinking water supply systems or to refer the decision to the Secretary of NSW Health.

Not for the first time, the outgoing Director Transport & Utilities has abrogated his responsibilities to report to council on the objective facts of the situation, while also appearing to deliberately mislead council by failing to identify a clear third option for it to consider, which is to respect the wishes of the community it was elected to represent & resolve to reject the recommendation in favour of fluoridation, forcing NSW Health to do its own dirty work.

The report also dishonestly suggests that the recommendation to fluoridate the shire’s water supplies makes strategic sense because council is “in the process of planning & building water treatment plants”. This claim is sheer nonsense, as the council itself has acknowledged that it has no intention to address the further upgrading of the shire’s water systems this side of 2025; even then it has no idea where it will find the estimated $35M cost involved.

The BVSRRA has repeatedly spoken out against the flawed processes adopted by NSW Health & council in its handling of this matter. That the state government & council would openly connive to create a process encouraging the community to engage in a public debate & express its views on the proposal, thereby deliberately creating a belief that its views would be respected, to then turn around & ignore the overwhelming opposition voiced by the community amounts to a monumental & shameful betrayal of the community’s trust.

Why arouse the community, solicit its views on a major issue & then ignore those views, unless the consultation process was intended only to pay lip-service to that process, while treating the community’s view with contempt when it differs to that of city hall?

The BVSRRA believes that NSW Health has acted corruptly by attempting to use council to impose its will on the community. The BVSRRA also believes that council will be seen to be impotent & equally corrupt if it adopts either of the suggested options.

The BVSRRA also believes that council has an obligation to respect the wishes of the community it was elected to represent & that it should keep faith with the community by rejecting the proposal & force NSW Health to accept responsibility for making its own decisions & wearing the community’s certain condemnation for deliberately ignoring its wishes.

John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association

#Opinion #Bega