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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3085 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The Labor Party has a very strong and well recognised record nationally in relation to tobacco issues. It was my colleague Mr Berry who first of all set about the process of providing for a stricter regime to control where people could smoke in the ACT and to send the appropriate signal about trying to get people to stop smoking because of the very clear and well documented adverse health impacts that smoking has.

The minister for health introduced this bill on 3 May to make some amendments in light of the experience to date with amendments the Assembly passed concerning limitations on point of sale displays. This bill provides a clarified definition of point of sale by way of regulations and that a health warning notice must be displayed at a tobacco point of sale display in accordance with the regulations. By allowing regulations to be made with respect to a point of sale, the bill allows for more detailed criteria to be specified in order to identify what constitutes a point of sale within a retail or wholesale outlet.

The main reason for this bill from the Labor Party's perspective seems to be that retailers have been seeking clarification on what constitutes a point of sale. The current definition does appear to be too lose and is creating confusion for retailers who are genuinely trying to comply with the previous amendments passed by the Assembly. This bill will also allow for health warning notices to be updated by regulation in a timely fashion. This is also an important, albeit minor amendment.

Mr Speaker, on the basis of these two important changes which help to clarify the original intent of the Assembly when it passed these amendments a short time ago, the Labor Party will be supporting this bill.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (5.51), in reply: I thank Mr Corbell for his eloquent speech on a subject that he has not spoken on at length, but we know that all members of the Assembly have taken a strong positive interest in tobacco legislation. Part of my normal process when we debate tobacco legislation is to acknowledge the work that Wayne Berry did on this issue. By and large I think there has been a positive approach from the Assembly. We have to continue that approach step by step.

Earlier today a petition was tabled calling on this Assembly to deal with legislation with regard to vending machines. I believe that is the next step. I would not be surprised to see Mr Berry hit the new Assembly with a piece of legislation on the removal of tobacco vending machines, because we do know that they are the highest access point for young people. We have taken the appropriate step by ensuring that vending machines are visible in bars and places like that so that they are monitored. However, vending machines are still highly accessible for young people.

I appreciate the support of members of the Assembly for this bill and look forward to a continuing march down this path until such time as there is minimal use of tobacco. But it is an addictive drug, and we expect that it will be part of our society for a long time to come. I just hope that society becomes a smaller and smaller part of our community.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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