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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2279..


MR PRATT

(continuing):

Have you instructed, or will you instruct, senior public servants, statutory office appointees and boards to cooperate with what can only be described as a partisan witch-hunt?

MR STANHOPE

: No.

MR PRATT

: Chief Minister, who is running the public service-you or the old Left of the Labor Party?

MR STANHOPE

: Me.

Smoke-free enclosed public spaces

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Health. Minister, last week you issued the discussion paper, Towards smoke free enclosed public places in the ACT. Can you outline to the Assembly the objectives of this paper?

MR CORBELL

: Mr Speaker, I was very pleased last week to release the public consultation document, Towards smoke free enclosed public places in the ACT. The paper consults the community on the proposed phase out of the smoke-free areas ACT exemption system. This discussion paper forms part of the process which will involve discussions with community and business organisations. Its focus is on how and when a phase out is best achieved. That is the subject of both the consultation and the discussion paper. The government is already on the record-

Mr Smyth

: So you already have your position determined?

MR CORBELL

: We already have our position determined? Yes, Mr Speaker, we have. The government's policy is to phase out smoke-free exemption systems under the act. The four options the government has stated as ways of addressing this commitment are explained in the discussion paper. They include: ending all exemptions on a designated common date at the earliest possible opportunity; ending all exemptions on a designated common date which allows for a longer phase out period; allowing current exemptions to operate until their expiry date, but with no further exemption granted; and allowing current exemptions to operate until their expiry date, but with new and renewed exemptions expiring on the common date of 30 November 2006.

In 1994 the ACT led the nation with landmark passive smoking legislation. This government believes it is now time to renew that policy commitment-after seven years of inaction on the part of our predecessors. There is now unequivocal and indisputable evidence that passive smoking is harmful and that there is no safe exposure level.

This is not about stopping people from smoking; it is about protecting public health-the health of people who work in and use places such as pubs, clubs and restaurants. Our review of legislation is timely, given that other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, are also currently examining this issue.


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