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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3909..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

I am pleased to see that the right to have a smoke-free environment has been recognised, but believe that there is still much that needs to be done to further reduce the levels of smoking in our community and stop our youth taking up the habit. I ask members to look next time they are at their local shopping centres at how tobacco products are displayed. In many retail outlets, large and small, tobacco products are located at the front of the store, surrounded by impulse items such as chocolates, drinks, flowers, toys and newspapers. It is said that this is an effort to normalise tobacco products and is known as the halo effect.

There are more than 35,000 outlets in Australia which sell tobacco products, the majority of which have visible displays advertising the products that are for sale. When children see such displays, and at the moment it is impossible for them not to, they come to believe that cigarettes are just another normal item that can be purchased. I believe that the tobacco displays should be put out of sight and I am aware that some major retailers, such as Coles supermarkets in Tasmania, have already taken steps to store cigarettes out of the sight of customers. Whilst some businesses may claim that that will have a major effect on sales, research undertaken by the Cancer Council of Victoria has shown that 80 per cent of smokers already know their brand without relying on the display. The displays only advertise the products that are available and therefore help new smokers, most of whom are our youth, choose a brand.

I believe it is also necessary to make the sale of tobacco products by minors illegal. You need to be over 18 to purchase cigarettes, so it is logical that you should be over 18 to sell them. Finally, I believe that we should also be trying to stop people smoking in cars when there are children in the cars. Whilst this may prove difficult, I think that we could do so by having an opportunistic effect, such as not wearing a seatbelt. Public pressure will also play a big part in making sure that that occurs, but there is more to be done. (Time expired.)

West Belconnen Health Cooperative

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.58): Mr Speaker, like you and Ms Porter, last week I had the privilege of being present at Charnwood primary school when the community formed the West Belconnen Health Cooperative. The West Belconnen Health Cooperative is something that I find quite inspirational, being the work of members of a community getting together to solve a real problem that they saw in their community.

For those members who are not aware of this project, it came about essentially from groups of people involved in Neighbourhood Watch discussing the fact that there were no doctors, especially no bulk-billing doctors, in the area around Charnwood and the adverse effects that that was having on the operation of the local pharmacy, whose pharmacist was essentially being called in to act as medical adviser, and the knock-on effects that that was having on accident and emergency whereby people were going to Calvary Hospital instead of going to a doctor. There was a reasonable number of doctors in the west Belconnen area, but all of them were full-fee-paying and none of them were bulk-billing.

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