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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1536..


Debate resumed from 6 May 1997, on motion by Mrs Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR BERRY (5.17): Mr Speaker, in speaking to this proposed amendment to the legislation, I propose to deal, in roughly this order, with the influence on ACT health, the history of legislation in the ACT, the legislation, its origins and so on, and the arguments about the effectiveness of this legislation. In respect of the influence on health in the ACT, I think it is interesting and important that the Assembly note a few facts. In the ACT there are somewhere between 200 and 300 deaths per year that are associated with tobacco consumption. That is about five or six a week. There are about 46 per day across Australia. The overall bill is around $7 billion per year. So it is not an insignificant issue. Some 15 per cent of deaths from all causes and 75 per cent of drug-related deaths are attributable to tobacco use - I use as my source the ACT drug strategy 1995-1997; cancer and ischaemic heart disease account for 35 per cent and 26 per cent respectively of tobacco-related deaths.

I have indicated the cost nationally, but I am informed that there is a clash in the figures. One source I have says $7 billion around Australia; another source says $9.2 billion. Either way, it is a lot of money. The $9.2 billion translates to a cost to the ACT of about $276m, and when this document was drawn up it said that it was more than the entire annual ACT health budget. Mrs Carnell wishes! It might have been that amount when a Labor government was in power, but it is certainly more than that under the Liberals, and I think it will be a long time before we see those figures again. The effects of tobacco consumption on health in the Australian Capital Territory and across Australia are significant issues and must be taken into account when people consider this legislation and the decision they are about to make on the extension and promotion of tobacco consumption in licensed premises.

I would now like to talk about the history of the ACT and tobacco legislation. Not long after self-government was established in the Australian Capital Territory, Labor came to office, and it was certainly my intention to introduce stronger tobacco laws in the Territory. I issued some drafting instructions to draw up legislation. As history will record, regrettably, I did not have the opportunity to introduce that legislation into the Assembly; Mr Humphries introduced legislation which tightened up the tobacco laws in the Territory. And guess who the first people were to come out against it. The tobacco industry. I refer now to an article in the Canberra Times on 10 March 1990. I suppose what I am trying to draw attention to is the record of submission to the tobacco industry, if you like, along the way. I do not blame Mr Humphries for this; I think he was leant on fairly heavily.

The article quoted the chief executive of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, Richard Mulcahy, and you might recall that Richard Mulcahy is the head of the Australian Hotels Association at this point. So there has always been this strong connection between the tobacco industry and the Australian Hotels Association. In many ways,

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