Local communities force a Parliamentary discussion on smoke-free outdoor dining
24 November 2011
Give us smoke free alfresco dining. That's the message from the NSW community as the issue is set to be discussed by MPs this afternoon at 5pm.
This most recent call has been supported by a petition of more than 11,000 people demanding an end to smoking in outdoor dining areas and children's playgrounds across the state, which has been tabled by the NSW Government Health Minister, Jillian Skinner.
Cancer Council NSW has joined forces with five other leading health organisations, local government, and the eight out of ten NSW voters who are urging the Government to introduce new smoke free laws which would bring NSW in line with Queensland, Tasmania, and the ACT.
Local mayors across NSW have become the latest voice urging the Government to listen to communities for State Government to introduce smoke free laws.
Dr Andrew Penman, CEO of Cancer Council NSW, said that NSW was behind other states on smoke-free outdoor areas and that everybody should have equal access to an outdoor meal without having to breathe dangerous second-hand smoke.
"Local councils are doing their bit on the issue but their powers are limited. Smoke free dining is particularly problematic in NSW and lack of government action has led to a bizarre situation where you find dining areas in Newtown being smoke-free on one side of the street and no protection on the other.
"This is confusing for customers, difficult for businesses, and unfair when it comes to protecting the community's health. With such broad community support, we are asking the NSW Government to Clear the Air: why wouldn't you?
The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) are fully supportive of local councils getting this ban introduced state wide.
"Local Government across NSW has responded to changing community expectations with over 60 per cent of councils now having a policy for smoke free outdoor areas. However this has created a patchwork effect across the State that is confusing to both communities and businesses", said CrRay Donald, President of the Shires Association of NSW.
"The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW believe it is now time for uniformity and call on the NSW Government to introduce laws to ensure that everyone throughout NSW can enjoy the benefits of smoke free outdoor areas" said Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, President of the Local Government Association of NSW.
Legislation for smoke free alfresco dining is supported by the Australian Medical Association NSW, Cancer Council NSW, Heart Foundation, Action on Smoking and Health, Asthma Foundation NSW, and SIDS and Kids NSW.
For more information on smoke free dining or clear the air campaign log onto http://www.canceraction.com.au/
Media contact: Luke Alexander, telephone: (02) 9334 1878 or 0413 886 578 or Gina Murphy (02) 9334 1428 or 0413 88928