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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 3000 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

I am pleased that there has been room for negotiation and for amending the legislation to ensure it is manageable for small business. I must also put on the record that I would like to see the aim of reducing smoking, particularly among our young people, achieved. I will be monitoring the figures to see how effective these point-of-sale restrictions are in achieving this aim in the future.

There is one amendment that I propose to make to this legislation. It has been circulated to members It relates to the number of stack dispenser facings that can be displayed for a single product line. Mr Moore's Bill proposes one facing for each product line. I propose that for a maximum of two products two stack dispenser facings be permitted. I have drafted this amendment to accommodate the security and safety measures for small businesses that would come into question with their fast-moving lines of stock. Businesses such as service stations, which are regular targets of robberies, will have to drop their guard continually to refill the stock of their fast-moving lines, even if they only have to bend down to reach below the counter to pick up stock. That is enough time for an undesirable thief to seize the moment and put the staff member in danger.

I understand that in New South Wales two is the number of facings allowable in their tobacco regulations. These regulations are in operation just across the border. Allowing retailers to display two packs of their two highest turnover stock items will reduce the number of times that staff have to turn their back on customers and will thus reduce the security problems for both staff and stock.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.46), in reply: Thank you, members, for your response to the Bill, both now and at the previous sitting. Before I make general remarks, I would like to explain once again, particularly for Mr Rugendyke, the consistency of our position. Mr Rugendyke, if you care to read From Harm to Hope, you will see that the Government has a very consistent position on the way it deals with drugs, whether they are legal or illegal products. Do not forget, Mr Rugendyke, that there are other legal products that we put severe restrictions on. One of those is cocaine. It is legal to use cocaine under prescription and dispensed through pharmacies. We have very strict conditions on how that is sold. It is a very useful drug, as indeed are morphine, diazapines and amphetamines. They all fit into this category. They are legal products but we put very stringent restrictions on their advertising and display. So stringent are the conditions that these drugs must be held in safes. It is nothing out of the ordinary for this particular drug, tobacco, to have restrictions put on it. It is a normal process. Our approach to these drugs and other drugs is consistent in that in every single thing we do we seek to reduce the use and to reduce the harm associated with them. That is why our document From Harm to Hope is so pertinent in this area.

It is a privilege for me to stand up here and deal with my responsibilities in this area. Tobacco use is the single greatest cause of premature death and preventable disease in this country. More than 18,000 Australians die every year because of tobacco use, and countless others have their quality of life severely diminished because of smoking-related diseases and conditions.

When I put up legislation such as this, people say to me, "But you might put somebody out of a job". The people I would like to put out of a job are the people who work in my own department, the oncologists, the oncological nurses and those people who treat cancer. I would like to be able to put them out of a job, because I would like to reduce

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