Attempt to reverse fluoride move proves unsuccessful at Oberon Council meeting

A LAST-DITCH effort to reverse Oberon Council’s decision to add fluoride to the water was lost during a heated ordinary meeting on Tuesday night.

Mayor Kathy Sajowitz had to threaten to clear the public gallery twice as tempers flared.

Councillor Brenda Lyon brought a motion to the meeting that council withdraw its application to have fluoride added to the water supply.

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Anti-fluoride campaigner Chris Freeman addressed council during question time in regards to that motion, referring to the recently completed community-led survey on the topic.

He said the survey measured the opinion of more than 650 Oberon residents.

"At first count, the responses to the community-led survey indicated overwhelming community opposition of 77 per cent to fluoridation of Oberon’s public water supply," he said.

Mr Freeman said this result stood in sharp contrast to the survey result reported by the Social Research Centre on behalf of NSW Health that 35pc of the Oberon community opposed fluoridation.

"The results of these two surveys are so clearly divergent that they cannot be reconciled with one another," he said.

Mr Freeman reminded council of its own poll of electors conducted in 2014, where, he said, 69pc were in opposition to fluoridation.

Deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons said he was there to serve the community and he had heard what the community was saying.

In addressing council, Cr Mark Kellam was scathing about the validity of the current survey, questioning how and why the data was recorded.

"It's possible residents were door-knocked two or three times. In fact, even if the figures were rectified, it doesn't count," he said, as the packed gallery started to get heated.

When the motion was put to the vote, councillors Ian Doney, Lyon, Clive McCarthy and Gibbons voted to reverse the fluoride decision and councillors Kellam, Mick McKechnie, Andrew McKibbin and Sajowitz voted not to reverse it. Cr Sajowitz used her second vote and the motion was lost.

Cr Don Capel was absent from the meeting.