Retailers keep teens to account

BENDIGO tobacco retailers have been commended for not selling tobacco to minors.

It follows a bid to reduce smoking among teens. 

The Environmental Health and Local Laws Unit recently tested 13 retailers across the municipality, with none selling tobacco to a minor.

Several smoke-free laws came into force on April 1, including the banning of smoking near children’s play areas.

City of Greater Bendigo planning and development director Prue Mansfield said the state government laws further highlighted the need to be vigilant. 

"There is strong evidence that restricting the retail supply of cigarettes to minors reduces the social acceptability of smoking and prevalence of teenage smoking," she said. 

"It also prevents young people becoming regular and addicted smokers." 

An on-the-spot fine of $577 can be issued to an individual, and an $8662 fine to a company found to be selling tobacco to an underage person.

The council routinely completes the test purchase program.

In other news, council has allocated more than $170,000 for round two of the 2013-14 City of Greater Bendigo Community Grants Program.

The council received 94 applications for funding; $173,390 was shared among 65 successful applicants.

Successful applicants include the Heathcote Festival and Events Association, to promote the fourth Heathcote Film Festival and PepperGreen Farm, to develop educational resources about organic waste management.

Raywood Progress Association also received funding to host a community dance and barbecue, as well as e.motion 21 Bendigo Dance Group to offer dance and fitness programs for people with disabilities and Greater Bendigo Community Radio to purchase a new operating console.

Mayor Barry Lyons said numerous not-for-profit groups could continue their good work in the community with the grants. 

He encouraged any group that missed out to re-apply in round one of the 2014-15 Community Grants Program, which opens later this year.

This round the print and digital publications category replaced the community newsletter category, following increased inquiries about funding for online communication mediums.

It was also the first time applications were received online across the seven categories.

These are arts and culture, community development, community events, environmental sustainability, healthy communities, print and digital publications and recreation.

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