Page 612 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

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Amendments 3, 4 and 5 are consequential amendments complementing the amendment to the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989, part 6 of the bill. These amendments were identified during the development of regulations for the Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Act 2004 as need be made. These amendments amend references to the Drugs of Dependence Regulations 1993 and the Periodic Detention Act, the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act, the Smoke-free Areas (Enclosed Public Places) Act and the Tobacco Act to now refer to a controlled drug in the Criminal Code.

Amendments agreed to.

Remainder of bill, as amended, agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Smoking (Prohibition in Enclosed Public Places) Amendment Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 9 December 2004, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (4.36): Mr Speaker, this bill follows on from the decision taken by the Assembly last year to establish 1 December 2006 as the point for the removal of exemptions for smoking in enclosed places in the ACT. The bill clarifies the definition of “enclosed space” and closes a loophole that may have allowed people to avoid the law in this regard. It also places an obligation on occupiers to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to prevent smoke penetrating non-smoking areas of the premises.

The interesting thing will then be that the regulations that follow on from this bill—and the government in its presentation speech said that it will immediately put in place regulations that will allow the bill to be operable—will be just as important because they establish the definition of what is an enclosed space in terms of 25 per cent of it being open. Mr Speaker, there is some concern in the community about this regulation and the 75:25 per cent rule. Some say it is too little; some say it is too much; some say we are moving too fast; others are saying that we are moving too slowly.

In this regard, the opposition will be supporting the bill. We believe that we need to move forward together, that we need to move forward with certainty and that, as businesses and organisations—clubs, et cetera—change their way of operating, they do have the opportunity to gain the benefit of having made changes and not being put to undue expenditure. That being said, it will still need to be monitored to make sure that it works and that organisations are not rorting the new regulations to avoid the need to protect their staff and their patrons.

Mr Speaker, while it is in some ways an area of serious discussion out in the community, what is put in place here is quite simple and the opposition, like I said, will be supporting

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