Fluoride survey could go down drain
THE Southern Downs Regional Council spent $10,000 to gauge the public's opinion on the issue of fluoridated water - but a poor survey return rate could see the results thrown in the bin.
Surveys were sent out to ratepayers connected to town water in Stanthorpe, Warwick, Allora and Yangan in mid-October.
Less than 30% of people returned their survey to the council.
The council stipulated that in order for the results to be valid at leat 50% of the surveys had to be returned.
Across the district only 26.9% of residents returned their surveys.
When split 31.6% of Stanthorpe residents handed theirs back while only 25.2% of Warwick residents bothered to have their say.
The results of the returned surveys indicate some wish to see fluoridation discontinued with 70.2% of Stanthorpe residents and 64.7% of Warwick residents voting in favour of discontinuation.
Southern Downs Regional councillors will discuss the results when they meet tomorrow in Stanthorpe..
They will have the choice to dismiss the survey as invalid or make a decision based on the results of the returned surveys.
Save our Shire Action Group member Mary Rofe, who was one of the people behind convincing the council to conduct the survey in the first place, said she was disappointed with how the council had dealt with the situation.
Mrs Rofe's biggest issue was the fact the survey was only sent to ratepayers.
"The fact people who drink the water didn't get a say is a major problem as far as I'm concerned," she said.
Mrs Rofe said she would like the council to make their own decision.
"The bottom-line is they can make this decision without all this hoo-ha," she said.
"It is obvious from the survey we presented the council and results from surveys since then that people do not want fluoride in the water.
"It is sad the council is not willing to take this on board."
Mrs Rofe said the ideal situation would be for the council to vote to remove the fluoride during Wednesday's general meeting.
Since the State Government handed the decision on fluoridated water over to Local Governments in 2013, 22 councils have voted to remove fluoride from their town's drinking water.
Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food Inc spokeswoman Marilyn Haines said the trend from the SDRC survey results was very clear.
"It would be a ridiculous situation if council paid $10,000 to do a survey, had very clear results and then tried to ignore the results," she said.