Four flout fag laws

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By SELINA SHAR­RATT

U N D E R C O V E R ‘smok­ing of­fi­cers’ have nabbed four of the re­gion’s pubs and clubs for bla­tantly flout­ing the State Gov­ern­ment’s anti-smok­ing laws.

As a re­sult the lo­cal branch of Queens­land Health is con­sid­er­ing pros­e­cu­tion, which could lead to fines of up to $10,000.

The names of the busi­nesses will not be re­leased.

John Pi­is­panen of North Queens­land Trop­i­cal Pop­u­la­tion Health Net­work said some premises had en­cour­aged peo­ple to smoke in ar­eas which were non-smok­ing.

‘‘We are cur­rently look­ing at four clubs in the Townsville re­gion to de­cide whether we will p r o s e c u t e , ’ ’ M r Pi­is­panen said.

‘‘If pa­trons do light up in the wrong place then you would ex­pect some­one (who works there) to say you can’t smoke there and give them other op­tions.

‘‘We will be al­leg­ing (the premises in ques­tion) al­lowed peo­ple to s mo k e w h e n t h e y shouldn’t.

‘‘To merely turn a blind eye or to en­cour­age peo­ple to smoke in the wrong spot will lead to po­ten­tial out­comes in­clud­ing be­ing bought be­fore a mag­is­trate.’’

He said of­fi­cers had un­der­taken a mas­sive 1270 in­spec­tions of pubs and clubs dur­ing the to­bacco en­force­ment phase from Oc­to­ber 1 to Novem­ber 30.

‘‘As a re­sult of that we is­sued Pre­scribed In­fringe­ment No­tices (PINS) to six peo­ple where they should not have been smok­ing . . . of a $150 fine.

‘‘Four premises are sub­ject to fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions, where we are al­leg­ing they have al­lowed peo­ple to smoke where they should not.

‘‘We need to keep in per­spec­tive that we spent the three months prior to Oc­to­ber (2006) work­ing with th­ese busi­nesses to make sure they un­der­stood the laws and put in place the prac­tices that they needed to . . . and all that ef­fort re­sulted in such a suc­cess­ful en­force­ment stage.’’

He said the ed­u­ca­tion and ac­tive en­force­ment phase was now com­plete.

‘‘There are now au­tho­rised of­fi­cers through­out Queens­land who go to places well af­ter mid­night even un­til 2am to 3am,’’ he said.

‘‘Of­fi­cers will be out mak­ing sur­veil­lance at any time that th­ese busi­nesses are open in a covert or overt roles.’’

He said of­fi­cers go into clubs and act as pa­trons: ‘‘We like to keep an air of un­cer­tainty out there. We could be there at any time and we will be tak­ing ac­tion. If you do the wrong thing you run the risk of get­ting fined.’’

Mr Pi­is­panen said the Townsville re­gion en­force­ment of­fi­cers cov­ered north to Ing­ham, south to Bowen and west to Mount Isa.

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