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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1413 ..

The display of smoking products has been greatly reduced, advertising for these products has been virtually eliminated, there are no more tobacco promotions involving competitions, giveaways and gifts, and the right to sell smoking products is now directly linked to compliance with tobacco control legislation, through a licensing system.

The success of this legislation is due to several factors, including strong community support and the efforts of the Department of Health, Housing and Community Care to work with businesses to ensure that the highest possible levels of compliance are achieved.

As a result of on-going discussions with businesses and health groups, and building on the experience of public health officers in implementing the legislation over the past months, a number of practical issues have come to light which now require attention.

In order to address these issues, the Tobacco Amendment Bill proposes two minor amendments to the Tobacco Act 1927.

First, the Bill proposes that the definition of a tobacco 'point of sale' be modified to include reference to regulations.

The legislation currently defines 'point of sale' as 'a place where smoking products are sold within a retail or wholesale outlet'.

Because of the variety of configurations of arrangements within outlets, the notion of a 'place' within the outlet has proved problematic, and retailers seeking to comply with the legislation have indicated that they would welcome greater clarity about the application of this term.

The inclusion of a specific regulation-making power will enable more detailed guidance to be provided in the form of a regulation.

Second, the Bill proposes to place the detailed requirements for point-of-sale health warning notices in regulations. These specifications are currently contained within Section 22 of the Tobacco Act.

Placing these detailed requirements in regulations is consistent with other public health legislation and is intended to provide greater flexibility for the Government in ensuring that the notices are kept effective and up-to-date. It is intended that the regulations will also provide greater flexibility for retailers in displaying notices which are visible and effective, without being unnecessarily restrictive.

The intention is for the regulations under new section 22 to be notified upon commencement of the Bill, and that a transitional period will be provided during which the display of signs which meet either the 'old' or the 'new' requirements will be permitted.

In summary, the Bill addresses some practical issues in a manner consistent with the Government's commitment to high standards of public health legislation and to working in partnership with the business to achieve compliance in a fair and reasonable way.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to present the Tobacco Amendment Bill 2001.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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