Smoking ban in the hands of public

THE City of Greater Bendigo will continue to educate the community about the harmful effects of tobacco, after calls to amp up the policing of non-smoking areas in the city. 

Resident Travis Penbrook said despite state government legislation creating a no-smoking zone within 10 meters of children's play equipment, many smokers could be seen congregating near the Fun Loong playground on a regular basis. 

"Most of the culprits are young teenagers, who when asked to move on claim ignorance of the law change or are simply indifferent to the fact their poisonous smoke is drifting into the lungs of young toddlers," he said. 

" I ask that Bendigo council make some effort to enforce this zone, with a council officer issuing $144 on-the-spot fines, or at the very least improve the signage and paint on a thick permanent red line marking the 10m zone clearly."

But environmental health and local laws manager Susannah Milne said there was no funding available to monitor the bans in public places. 

“No additional funding has been made available for extra resources, as the state government expects the legislation to be self-monitoring and voluntarily adhered to," she said. 

“‘No smoking’ signage has been installed around the FunLoong play space to remind the public that smoking is now prohibited within 10 metres from play equipment."

Ms Milne said additional temporary signage would also be placed around the play space in the coming weeks, to coincide with the September school holidays and activities planned for the Hargreaves Mall.

“There is strong community support for banning smoking in public places and the challenge is to change people’s habits, which is easier said than done," she said. 

“Therefore, the City will continue to focus on educating the community about the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and the importance of providing children and young people with a healthy, smoke-free environment to play in.”

Smoking is banned within a 10-metre radius of public swimming pools, children's playground equipment, sporting venues during underage events and skate parks. 

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