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December 30th, 2012:

New year, butt out as on-the-spot smoking fines take effect

Tim Hiley

Tim Hiley, from Erskineville, with his kids at Centennial Park. Picture: Bob Barker Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Smoking near playgrounds and public swimming pools will be punished with a A$550 on-the-spot fine as part of new state government laws to take effect in 2013.

Car registration stickers are dead while taxi drivers will be forced to wear seatbelts.

Bus, train or ferry commuters will pay between 10c and 20c more for single trips.

Grandstands and sportsgrounds, railway platforms, ferry wharves, bus stops and cab ranks will become smoke-free from January 7.

It will also be illegal to smoke within 4m of the entrance of a public building.

The ban will extend within three years to commercial outdoor dining areas and within 4m of a pedestrian entrance or exit from licensed premises, restaurants and cafes, making NSW virtually smoke-free.

The few public spaces where smoking will continue include the high rollers room at Sydney‘s Star casino.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the tough stance was taken in a bid to reduce the number of people with a smoking-related illness.

“Smoking-related illness accounts for about 5200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations per year in NSW,” she said. “This costs about $8 billion annually.”

NSW Health will be relying on its own officials and council rangers to catch smokers breaking the law.

Erskineville‘s Tim Hiley, who has three children aged between two and six years, welcomed the ban. He does not smoke and does not think the rules are intrusive.

“We do live in a highly regulated society, but the health of our children is very important,” he said.

The days of registration stickers will also be a thing of the past and police and road traffic authorities will rely on number plate recognition technology to determine if motorists have paid their rego.

Police have raised concerns that the change will place extra pressure on already stretched resources. The state government has defended the move, pointing to how successful it has been in Western Australia where it was introduced in 2010.

Coogee graphic designer Ariane Diblosio said she would miss the visual reminder of when her registration was up.

“At least with the sticker, I can see when it is coming up,” she said.

New boarding house regulations will also come into effect giving some of the state’s most vulnerable residents greater rights and better living conditions.

Sprinklers will also be required to be installed in residential aged care facilities

New laws stub out public smoking areas

Heath Aston
Published: December 30, 2012 – 3:00AM

SMOKERS making a New Year’s resolution to quit will be given a helping hand, with a new range of public places where smoking will be banned from next week.

Smoking at playgrounds, bus stops, sports grounds, swimming pools and the entrances to all public buildings will become illegal from January 7.

The regulations are part of new state laws that will take effect from as early as New Year’s Day. They include an end to vehicle registration stickers, harsher workers’ compensation rules, a law forcing taxi drivers to wear seatbelts, and compulsory fire sprinkler systems in aged-care homes.

The Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, said reducing the places where people could smoke would keep more people out of hospitals. ”While these changes will be unpopular with some, the NSW government is committed to ensuring the exposure of the public – particularly children – to second-hand smoke is as limited as possible,” she said.

From January 1, renewing a car registration will not require a sticker on the windscreen. The Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, has also announced a new system that will allow people to use an iPhone app to complete their registration.

Also from January 1, travelling by public transport will become more expensive. The cheapest adult single fare on a CityRail train will rise by 20¢ to $3.60. A one-section bus fare will increase by 10¢ to $2.20 and a single ferry trip will go up 20¢ to $5.80.

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