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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2847 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Bill creates an office of Registrar of Tobacco and provides for the appointment of authorised officers with powers of entry, inspection and information gathering. The scrutiny of Bills committee has made extensive adverse comments about these provisions. There are other consequential provisions in the Bill.

The principal issues that arise with this Bill are limitations on the size of displays, the cost to retailers, particularly small traders, of refitting premises and the impact on personal liberties by the powers given to inspectors. On the question of limitation on size of displays, the Minister's original proposal limited retailers to an area of one square metre for displaying tobacco products. His amended proposal is for one packet of each product line or a representation thereof to be displayed. Submissions from ASH and the Heart Foundation point out that cigarette companies will simply expand their product lines available for sale - one company, I am told, is apparently planning eight new varieties in the near future - and thus expand the display beyond what currently exists.

A product line, as proposed to be defined in clause 4, means a kind of tobacco product distinguishable from other kinds by one or more of four characteristics - brand, flavour, nicotine or tar content, and number of cigarettes in the packet. One way of limiting the display could be to amend this provision so that the products must be distinguished on two or more of the four characteristics. Cigarette companies could still change their branding and packaging to enable greater numbers of product lines to be displayed, but it would be more difficult and impose additional costs on the manufacturer, not the local retailer. This amendment to the proposed new definition would ensure that the display area remains limited in area.

On the question of costs of refitting premises, it is unclear what costs will be imposed on retailers by the requirement to put all displays one metre behind the customer service area. Most retailers have overhead displays above their counters. The Minister has not explained how retailers will move these displays within the limited areas available to suburban shops such as newsagents and petrol outlets. Nor has there been an explanation of who will pay the costs. I understand that in one briefing it was suggested that the overhead displays should be covered up and be used only for storage.

The tobacco displays must be on the seller's side of the point of sale and at least one metre from any part of the customer service area. There are other restrictions on the display of cigars, but they are not quite as significant as these. The requirement for the display to be one metre from any part of the customer service area has been criticised by some lobbyists on two grounds - security and cost. It has been said that attendants will be required to turn away from the customer being served to reach for the product and this will expose them to an increased risk of being assaulted and robbed.

The provisions will be phased in over a period of six months to allow retailers sufficient time for compliance with the new requirements. It is interesting, and I guess it is relevant to be noted in the context of this debate, that these are considerations that we all have taken into account and dealt with in our own ways. Coles, for instance, I understand, have been informing members that supermarkets will face up to $30,000 each for the refitting imposed by the legislation. The Tobacco Retailers Association has

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