Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (30 July) . . Page.. 3041..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
permitted. Minister, is this true and, if so, has it come about because of pressure from pubs and clubs on all members of your government?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Cross for the question. I have to say at the outset that I am not aware of any representations that may have been made to the Minister for Health or the department of health in relation to recent initiatives relating to smoke-free enclosed public places, including the proposed expansion of restrictions in relation to the operation of pubs and clubs. So it is difficult for me.
I am sorry, Mrs Cross, I am just not privy to what representations may have been made or what further negotiations are occurring in relation to the application of the announced proposals in relation to smoke-free places in public places, particularly smoke-free environments within clubs and pubs. I will need to take some advice on the specific issue you raise, Mrs Cross, and I will be more than happy to ensure that that is provided, hopefully by tomorrow.
MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, is the government still committed to seeing smoking completely banned from enclosed public places, effective 1 December 2006? Can you inform the Assembly whether the health department is in the process of drafting guidelines to reflect these additional requests by pubs and clubs to enlarge the size of smoking areas?
MR STANHOPE: Mrs Cross, the government has not moved away from its commitment in relation to ensuring that pubs and clubs are smoke free by the designated pre-announced date. We have no intention of moving away from that commitment.
In relation to issues that have been raised with the government by pubs and clubs, certainly we will take seriously those representations. To the extent that the department of health has accepted that there is perhaps some validity to any of the representations, perhaps I can provide some further explanation of that in the answer that I have indicated I am more than happy to provide to you tomorrow.
Yes, we will respond to those representations that we believe to be acceptable, and we will respond to them obviously in the appropriate way. If that requires the department of health to provide additional information or to work on additional proposals that they would put to the government, then I would expect that that work would be duly undertaken. But I will confirm that in the further answer.
Certainly in relation to the first part of your supplementary question, the government has not moved away from its commitment, and I have absolutely no expectation that it will. As far as I am concerned, the date has been specified and I do not believe there is any reason why we would move from it or abandon it. As far as I am concerned, that will not happen. But to the extent that the government may provide some adjustment to the operation of the regime, then of course we will take seriously the representations that we have received; and to the extent that those representations have been received and are legitimate, I would expect the department of health to be working assiduously to meet the government's deadlines.