Page 814 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005
I thank Dr Foskey for moving the motion. What we need, though, before we can support the motion is more detail. We need the regulations. We need an explanation from the government. Does 25 per cent include roof space as well? If it were a perfectly square room, you would say, “Twenty five percent. Knock off one wall.” But do you have to lose 25 per cent of the roof as well? What is the basis of the 25:75 per cent rule? The problem is that some pubs and clubs have already taken some action. In some cases they have already spent money on their interpretation of what it would mean, based on what they have been told by officials. But until we get the actual detail, the problem will be that the uncertainty may have a detrimental effect on how people see what it is the government is trying to achieve.
We have said that we will monitor the situation, and we stand by that. The government laid the path last year. We now know that the extractors will go. We are taking big steps forward. But we also want to know that the government will actually monitor this and enforce the law. There are many examples that have come to us from consumers and constituents where it is currently not being monitored appropriately, and I am not aware of anyone being analysed under the law, as it currently stands. The minister might like to clear that up, but I am not aware that there have been too many notices issued. I am not aware of anyone who has lost a licence for disregarding the existing law.
If the public and the pubs and clubs and those with business interests are to have some confidence in the forthcoming law when the regulations are finally made—and those regulations will, of course, go to the Assembly for scrutiny—then we need to know from the government how they are going to enforce this law and what assurances there will be that it will be monitored because if some groups are just going to ignore it, they will gain a competitive advantage and if other groups do the right thing, they may well be punishing themselves.
We have to have consistency, and that is what we have asked for the entire way forward, that there be consistency, that the timelines be adhered to, that there be clarity in what the government is saying they will do and that everybody is singing from the same song sheet. The opposition has said, and I will say it again, that we will monitor this very closely so that we know exactly whether or not the government’s decision is working. If it does not, then we will be coming back to the Assembly with our own modifications. But let us not get to that stage. Let us give people out there the certainty that they deserve, so that everybody knows that we are all moving forward together.
Mr Corbell’s amendment is probably acceptable to the opposition simply because at this stage we need to know exactly what the government is doing. Mr Corbell lists some of the government’s achievements in this area. It is quite interesting that the ACT has one of the lowest adult smoking rates, but I understand that, for instance, the smoking rate among young females is going up. I think we need to do more there. We certainly need to do more to educate people about the health risks of smoking.
With those few words, Mr Deputy Speaker, at this stage the opposition will support the amendment, which will modify significantly the intent of the motion. But we put the government on notice that, one, they have to explain the 75:25 per cent rule, so that there is clarity out there and so that confusion disappears and, two, they must tell the community how they are going to enforce this law so that everyone with an interest in