Anti-smoking enforcement may fall to local councils

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

ACCORDING to the advertisements, 'Nobody smokes here any more' but who will enforce the law?

With the three month amnesty for the new state government smoking regulations finished, smokers who break the laws could face $150 fines.

But with no permanent environ- mental health officers from the state government in Gladstone, the buck has been passed to councils to police the restrictions.

But as yet Gladstone City Council has not decided if it will take on the task.

Gladstone City Council health manager Ron Doherty said council was waiting on advice from the Local Government Association of Queens- land (LGAQ) before deciding.

"At the moment council staff as such won't police the restrictions, we are waiting for advice from the local government association,'' Mr Doherty said.

When heard in an open council meeting in February, policing the new smoking laws caused concern in relation to the extra costs and pres- sures on staff.

As yet council has not received anything back from the LGAQ. LGAQ executive director Greg Hallam said while the body could not give any indication what it would ad- vise local councils to do regarding the new smoking laws, it did support the laws on the basis that councils were not forced to police them.

A spokesperson for health minis- ter Gordon Nuttall said Gladstone would be monitored by officers working out of Rockhampton, how- ever it was not known how regularly they would visit Gladstone.



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