Shire butts out on beach smoking ban
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
MIRIAM Vale Shire Council has decided to butt out of the smoking bans on patrolled beaches, introduced by the State Government on January 1.
The council said it would not police the smoking bans on the grounds of cost and lack of manpower.
The State Government has proposed to employ 16 to 18 officers to administer the new bans which would restrict smoking between the flags. However, it will be up to the coastal councils to police them on the scores of beaches up and down the coast.
Although the government has authorised councils to enforce the ban, the local governments are not obligated to do so.
Miriam Vale council's health officer Laurie French said to police the bans, the council would have to employ at least two more people on its health department staff 'at the cost of the ratepayers'.
'The government would put this greater burden on us, but it offers very little assistance,'' he said.
In its recent shire bulletin, Miriam Vale council said it did not have the resources 'to ensure fair, equitable and consistent policing of the bans and has decided not to enforce the bans at this time'.
Yesterday, Calliope Shire Council chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said the council had just received a letter from Queensland Health seeking council's co-operation with smoking bans.
He said councillors would decide on the matter at its next meeting on February 4.
Mr Kanofski said some of the matters councillors would have to consider would be the cost to council and how it would be resourced and manned.
He said the council has had prior experience of State Government devolving duties onto local governments.