Page 768 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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because of the consequent intensity of activity. By creating a 75:25 rule, you will maximise the damage to the health of patrons and workers.

I do think it is worth including in this debate some of the media release put out by ASH this morning, countersigned by the LHMU and the Musicians Union of Australia. The media release, titled “No staff should have to work in smoky areas”, reads:

The SmokeFree Australia coalition of health and trade union groups—

friends of the Labor Party, I image—

including bar workers, musicians and entertainers—says no-one should be expected to work in any area where smoking is permitted, whether enclosed or not.

Says coalition spokesperson Tim Ferrari of the LHMU hospitality union … “Such rooms would present a major health risk to anyone going into them,” …

“The paramount consideration of smokefree venue laws,” says Terry Noone of the Musicians Union of Australia, “should be to protect workers and the public from the known dangers of passive smoking in these venues. No bar worker or entertainer should be expected to work in conditions in which they are repeatedly exposed to secondhand smoke, whether or not the area is fully enclosed.”

We are probably all well aware that most of the casual workers who make up the hospitality work force are young people with very little say over their working conditions. So the whole question of OH&S is clearly something that this government needs to face up to, bearing in mind too that so many bar workers and musicians are young, as I have said, and vulnerable in terms of industrial strength, something that I would have thought that this government, especially the Minister for Health, would hold close to its heart.

It is not as if there is such a massive queue of Canberra residents, even smokers, wanting such protection for their unenclosed places. Yesterday, the heart foundation and ASH released a survey of a representative sample of 350 residents across Canberra that showed that 84 per cent of those surveyed thought it was not acceptable for smoking to be permitted in public places that are up to 74.9 per cent enclosed by walls and a roof or ceiling; that more than eight people in 10 support smoking being allowed only in public spaces that are fully open—without walls or roof; that fewer than three in 10 support smoking being allowed in rooms which are 50 per cent enclosed; that fewer than one in 10 support smoking being allowed in rooms which are 70 per cent or more enclosed; and that a majority of smokers, for whom these areas would be provided, believe that smoking should be allowed only in fully open areas.

According to Eileen Jerga, chief executive of the heart foundation’s ACT division:

These results show overwhelming support for smokefree places to be exactly what they say: fully smokefree. The ACT community’s expectations are reasonable—they’ve been led to believe that when the present smokefree exemptions finish at the end of 2006, smoking will not be allowed in enclosed areas. Hardly anyone—not even smokers—accepts that areas more than 70% enclosed should be defined as “unenclosed” and smoking allowed in them.

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