Page 3837 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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The schedule to the bill will harmonise the act with the principles of the Criminal Code. Today, with the passage of this bill, the ACT will be the second jurisdiction to have in place a ban on point-of-sale displays. Only Tasmania has legislation in place so far to get smoking products out of sight, with its ban to take effect in February 2011. This bill builds on the ACT being the first jurisdiction to prohibit in-store tobacco advertising and to place strict limits on the display of tobacco products through angled stacks and only one point of sale.

Research shows that point-of-sale displays act to promote and normalise smoking. The displays are one of the last remaining ways tobacco companies are able to display their wares. It is now time to get them out of sight. It is the right thing for the territory to do, and I am pleased to see that the New South Wales government have announced they will join the ACT in getting these displays out of sight.

As members would know, I have foreshadowed an amendment to provide for the date of commencement of the point-of-sale ban. Following the introduction of the bill in March 2008, it became clear that six months was too short a time for small businesses to adjust to this important legislation. I am therefore proposing an amendment to provide that point-of-sale displays come to an end on 31 December 2009, and I am also proposing an additional year for specialist tobacconists. These Canberra small businesses will be allowed to display until 31 December 2010.

As I have previously advised the Assembly, I met with a number of stakeholders and received numerous letters about the proposal. Some have argued that the display ban would require shops to refit, that people need to see the product they are purchasing and that it is too difficult for the staff to find the products. By providing a date 14 months from now, the government is proposing to give businesses the time to adjust to the proposal. It should be pointed out that industry has been given the flexibility within the bill to manage the point-of-sale requirements. It will no longer have to comply with a complex display formula as it will be a simple rule—out of sight.

The bill also makes other amendments that reinforce the ACT’s position as a leader in tobacco reforms. The ACT was the first, and so far the only, jurisdiction to prohibit the use of vending machines for the sale of smoking products to the public. This bill will close a loophole that has allowed so-called seller-controlled units to operate within the territory. These units are merely converted vending machines, which were banned in the territory on 1 September 2006. It also shows the speed with which the industry can respond when bans are put in place to amend their machines to take advantage of the loophole that existed. The intention of the ban will then be given full effect.

The bill will strengthen the territory’s ban on receiving rewards for purchasing cigarettes around the country. We have seen discount fuel vouchers or FlyBuys points being given in return for a smoking product purchase, but now the territory and other states are moving to restrict the rewards for smoking product purchases. The government hopes that this will send a clear message that smoking tobacco is not to be rewarded.

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