June 12, 2010 - GOLD Coast City Council has stubbed out plans to outlaw smoking at Southport bus stops after a report found a ban would cost ratepayers $600,000 a year and would be too hard to enforce.
Health Minister Paul Lucas..
Health Minister Paul Lucas said the decision was a 'cop-out'.
The Gold Coast encompases the area from the border of New South Wales almost up to Brisbane. Main locations include Coomera, Sanctuary Cove, Hope Island, Runaway Bay, Biggera Waters, Labrador, Southport, Ashmore, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Merrimac, Nerang, Tamborine Mountain, Robina, Nobby Beach, Miami, Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Elanora, Currumbin, Tugun, Bilinga, Kirra, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads which is actually located in New South Wales.
But it has also cast a shadow over new laws the Minister introduced to allow local councils to ban smoking at pedestrian malls, bus stops and taxi ranks. The laws were introduced in January but as yet only Brisbane City and Ipswich City councils are considering bans in the Queen Street and Ipswich malls.
Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow wanted to use the legislation to crack down on children smoking in Scarborough Street. "I'm just so used to the council doing nothing," she said.
The council also slammed the State Government for shifting the cost for enforcing and advertising the ban to local governments. Costs would include hiring a police officer at $103 an hour to patrol with two council officers, and $180,000 of advertising. On-the-spot fines of $150 were not expected to cover the costs of introduction and enforcement.
"It is a cop-out for council to refuse to consider a ban at a major bus interchange when Queensland Rail has successfully managed to do it at train stations.
Mr Lucas said he was disappointed the council 'thinks it isn't its business to play its role in anti-smoking measures'.
On June 9th God Coast Council’s Community and Cultural Development Committee voted to employ a project officer for six months to assess ways of reducing smoking and butt litter in bus stops and malls. (Council to monitor smoking in bus stops and malls, Gold Coast City Council, 6/10/2010)
Reference: Coast cigarette ban choked, Melinda Marshall, GoldCoast.com.au, 6/12/2010.