Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3228 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
These two legal cases should send a clear message to the government and employers that workers expect-and the courts agree-that they should be able to work in a smoke-free environment.
I have also been interested in the number of people who smoke while gambling, both being addictive behaviours. I wonder whether we should push for a total ban of smoking in pokies palaces to protect workers, and also make gamblers take a break every now and then. People will be aware that smoking has been banned in Crown Casino and Victoria's 534 other gaming venues, following groundbreaking work by Premier Steve Bracks. I read in today's Herald Sun that the casino and hoteliers are putting pressure on Premier Bracks, but he appears to be strong in his resolve.
Further, I have also been informed that new to the market are pokie machines with air filters installed on the top in an attempt to draw the smoke in. However, I would call on the government to look at the passive smoking that occurs in gambling venues, and perhaps follow the lead of its Victorian counterparts.
Another place where the ACT government could act regarding smoking is at sporting venues such as the Canberra Stadium, where, although you are unable to smoke in the stands, it is quite acceptable to smoke on the concourse between the seats and the food outlets, affecting people waiting in the queue, workers at the food outlets and those in neighbouring seats. This is not the situation at either the SCG or the MCG, where smokers have to go behind the stands. This is an issue that should be looked at when we are trying to stamp out passive smoking.
I feel that Ms Tucker's amendment is quite good and that it will bring to this motion another component of action. It will call on the government to provide us with some more information about and analysis of the air quality in our workplaces. Similar to Mr Smyth, I am concerned that there are clubs with systems installed that are not actually ensuring that the systems are turned on. As we have already heard, we need to be informed that the systems we have in place are actually working and being utilised.
I have been in venues with ventilation that allows them to have the non-smoking exemption, but where those fans have obviously not been turned on or are not working, as smoke fills the venues.
Mr Speaker, I thank Ms MacDonald for bringing the dangers of passive smoking to workers to the attention of the Assembly for this debate, and I hope that, through the ideas that I have put forward today, I have given the Minister for Health some practical solutions on which the government may act.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.45): As has been indicated, it is the code of practice for smoke-free workplaces under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that recognises the right of all workers to work in an environment which does not impose risks on their health from environmental tobacco smoke.
The code states that the most effective way to do this is to have no smoking in the workplace. If another approach is adopted, it is up to the employer to demonstrate that this alternative approach is at least as effective as preventing smoking. As the motion