Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2299..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Compliance testing is a strategy that involves test purchases of cigarettes by trained young persons under the supervision of an authorised officer. In Australia, compliance tests are used in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and will soon be undertaken in Western Australia. Recent results from South Australia and New South Wales highlight there have been significant decreases in the sale of smoking products to minors since the introduction of these tests. New Zealand, the USA and the UK also conduct compliance tests.
The purpose of the bill is to amend the Tobacco Act to enable the conduct of compliance testing for compliance monitoring and enforcement of the prohibition on the sale of tobacco to persons under the age of 18. The bill creates a legislative framework that enables compliance testing using test purchases of tobacco products to be undertaken legally and lawfully. Compliance testing is undertaken in accordance with an approved program and a number of safeguards have been incorporated in the bill to ensure that it is appropriately conducted and not misused. For example, a program must specify areas where compliance testing will be undertaken. It may operate for a maximum of three months and there must be a need to conduct a program of compliance testing in a particular area.
The bill provides the minister with the power to approve procedures with compliance testing. The procedures must protect the welfare, health and safety of young people who assist in compliance tests and ensure that it could not be alleged that the tobacco seller was misled into selling the tobacco product, by considering the welfare, health and safety of purchase assistants; allowing a purchase assistant to withdraw from a compliance test at any time; protecting the anonymity of a purchase assistant; making certain that a purchase assistant is indistinguishable from other young purchasers; and requiring a purchase assistant not to lie about their age.
There is no evidence in the literature on compliance testing or from other jurisdictions to suggest that participating in compliance testing results in physical, emotional or moral harm to the youth volunteering as the purchase assistant. We need to balance our responsibilities to the young people doing compliance testing with our responsibilities to the young people who smoke. I assure members of the Legislative Assembly that every effort will be made to stop any harm befalling the young people who act as purchase assistants, but I am convinced that we need to establish this scheme to reduce the harm from smoking amongst young people in Canberra. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Carers Recognition Legislation Amendment Bill 2006
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.40): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.