Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 August 2008) . . Page.. 3831 ..
currently working on—and they have had smoke in the tearoom and in the toilet. They have to stand beside people who are smoking all day. It does not matter whether it is one or 2,001; you get so hung up on that.
What I am asking the minister to do is look into that because it is a serious problem. We are getting young people, apprentices, on these building sites, working in buildings, doing the fit-out or whatever they are doing and they are exposed to second-hand smoking. I would be happy for the minister to agree with me on that one. I would ask that she put that on her list too and that we take it up with the CFMEU so that, once the windows have been put in a building, we look also then at the banning of smoking inside places such as that.
A I said, we will support the bill; we will be revisiting the point of sale, to properly work through with those stakeholders and make sure that family businesses are not further impacted in a way that they need not have been had the government consulted properly in the first place.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (8:28): I have given this bill a great deal of thought as it involves a number of regulatory changes that have been discussed at length in recent times. I have had several briefings on this issue, including a briefing from the government, and I have had briefings with relevant stakeholder groups. I have taken the decision to support this bill, though I have some concerns which I will highlight and which I think need ongoing monitoring and consultation. My decision was made in light of the government’s decision to delay the implementation of the point-of-sale changes to allow practical considerations for business to be worked through.
The most contentious point of this bill is that it requires retailers to keep cigarette products out of sight behind the counter. This is intended to reduce the attractiveness of cigarettes, particularly to young people. I will make the point at the outset of my remarks that at the end of the day tobacco and cigarettes are legal products. With the exception of age restraints, which I think should be rigorously enforced, and restrictions on smoking in public places, cigarettes are still legal. People can make the choice to smoke. However, I take the minister’s point made during her presentation speech, and I referred to this in the debate on the Criminal Code (Drug Equipment) Amendment Bill debate. She said:
Storing tobacco out of sight will prevent people, in particular children, from being able to see tobacco. Research shows that point-of-sale display acts to promote and normalise smoking. The territory will be the first to send the message that it is not normal.
I recognise this point and think that it has some merit, but it is worth noting that a balance is needed between this policy and practical consideration. The government relied on this defence this morning when failing to support my drug equipment bill and now must recognise that the same argument not only applies but is much more relevant in relation to the sale of tobacco. It is more relevant because the sale of cigarettes is a much larger percentage of many businesses’ bottom lines than, thankfully, the sale of illicit drug equipment.