Smokers get reprieve as mall ban on hold

IPSWICH smokers have been given a reprieve, with smoking bans in the Ipswich Mall unlikely to take an effect until after Christmas.

The idea was raised in late April, with Ipswich City Council backing a move to ban smoking in the mall. However, any further measures have been delayed until the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 passes through State Parliament.

Councillor Andrew Antoniolli, whose ward includes the Ipswich Mall, said the council's hands were tied.

“We're in limbo, waiting on the legislation, and until such time as the legislation comes out we can't be sure what we can impose as a local government,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“Clearly we would like to be able to look at the issue of smoking and the mall and we have certainly had a lot of calls from the public to make the mall a smoke-free area, but we can't do anything until the legislation comes out.”

Acting Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas said councils already had the power to enforce smoking bans within four metres of non-residential buildings.

“I challenge Councillor Antoniolli to advise how many anti-smoking patrols he has in place in the Ipswich Mall already before using this legislation as an excuse,” Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas said Parliament's heavy legislative agenda meant legislation could not be passed overnight.

“The opposition has also proposed amendments to this legislation as of last week, and these too will need to be debated,” he said.

The legislation is expected to be debated in the next session of Parliament in late October.

Wulkuraka resident Wendy Garden, who shops regularly in the mall with her grandchildren, backed the ban.

“It is particularly bad when people smoke around kids. The kids will be playing around the grass and then they breathe in the fumes,” Mrs Garden said.

However, Coalfalls resident Desleigh Laing opposes a ban, calling it discrimination.

“If people want to smoke, there should be areas they can do it in,” she said.

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