Calls For Urgent Action As Queensland Lags In Water Fluoridation

The Palaszczuk administration faces allegations of a significant lapse in public health, as over 25 per cent of Queensland residents lack access to water with fluoridation.

Recent reports reveal that while around 90 per cent of Australians can access fluoridated water, only 72 per cent of Queenslanders enjoy this public health benefit, with many major regional centres such as Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, and Cairns left without fluoridation.

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It has been over a decade since the Newman LNP government devolved the responsibility of water fluoridation to local governments. 

Surprisingly, two-thirds of councils have chosen not to implement water fluoridation despite its recognition as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As Queensland marks the 70th anniversary of introducing fluoride to drinking water in Australia, dentists, doctors, and public health specialists are urging immediate action to rectify this public health disparity.

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The Australian Dental Association of Queensland (ADAQ) has referred to fluoridation as “one of the cornerstones of modern preventive dentistry.” 

ADAQ spokeswoman Norah Ayad, a Gold Coast-based dentist, told ABC that water fluoridation could significantly impact the community, especially those at greater risk of tooth decay such as young children and the elderly.

“We definitely see it as a failure of the public health system,” Dr Ayad said.

“The public health system has always been a state government priority,” she added.

“It’s… passing the buck to local councils, who neither have the resources, nor the expertise to roll out something like this at a population level.”

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