Mildura Weekly : Friday July 8 Vol 10 No 35
22 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JULY 8, 2016 Victorian Councils enter new rate age NORTHERN Victorian Councils – includ- ing Mildura Rural City Council – are now officially operating under a rate cap for the first time, following a State Govern- ment initiative. Member for Northern Victoria Steve Herbert said the new rate cap would “ease the burden on local residents.” “Local residents will finally get some rates relief,” he said. “The Victorian Gov- ernment is reforming local government, making it more transparent and ensur- ing councils are listening to their com- munity.” Fair Go Rates is part of the State Gov- ernment’s agenda to reform the local government sector, including a review of the Local Government Act, an overhaul of council governance standards and an improved performance reporting frame- work. Across Victoria, the average rate in- crease has been almost six percent each year over the past 10 years, with Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) averaging annual increases equating to 5.28 per- cent in that time. Mr Herbert said that as a result of the overhaul, average rate bills would increase at a lower rate than they had over the past decade, with MRCC locked in to a maximum rise of 2.5 percent for 2016/17. CHILDREN under 18 will no longer be able to buy e- cigarettes under new laws recently introduced in Vic- torian Parliament. The new laws will reg- ulate the use of e-cigarettes in the same way as tobacco products, meaning that ex- isting bans on the sale, use and promotion of tobacco products will apply to e- cigarettes. The new laws will cover all e-cigarettes – re- gardless of whether they contain nicotine – due to laboratory testing be- ing required to determine whether a device contains nicotine or not. In Victoria, it is already illegal to sell, supply, pos- sess or use e-cigarettes that contain nicotine, as nico- tine is classified as a dan- gerous poison. However, the sale of non-nicotine e-cigarettes is currently unregulated, meaning they can be bought by children under 18 and marketed to young people. The new laws will ban e-cigarettes in all areas where smoking is banned, such as enclosed workplaces, dining areas, schools and in cars carry- ing children. The regulations will not restrict e-cigarettes be- ing used as an aid to quit smoking should they be approved by the Therapeu- tic Goods Administration sometime in the future. The ban will cover all outdoor dining areas at restaurants, cafes, take- away shops and licensed premises, including beer gardens, courtyards and footpath dining where food, other than snacks, is served. Smoking will also be banned at food fairs and organised outdoor events such as street and commu- nity festivals, local school fetes, sporting events and/ or craft markets where there are food stalls. Businesses will have one year to prepare for the bans before they start on August 1, 2017, with the government to provide support and information to businesses during the transition to smoke-free outdoor dining, including free ‘no smoking’ signage. The laws are clear and simple for business to fol- low, and allow businesses flexibility regarding how they can use their outdoor areas. All outdoor areas used for drinking and snack foods – but not meals – will be considered out- door drinking areas, and are not required to be smoke-free. Snack foods are per- mitted in outdoor drink- ing areas to promote the responsible consump- tion of alcohol, and have been clearly defined in the laws as pre-packaged and sealed food that don’t need preparation prior to serving, such as a packet of potato chips or nuts. This means a beer garden could be used as an outdoor drinking area from 5pm to 7pm with snacks and smoking per- mitted, and then be used as an outdoor dining area from 7pm onwards, dur- ing which time smoking is banned. Businesses could also split outdoor areas into clearly separated din- ing and drinking areas. At food fairs the entire outdoor area used will be smoke-free, while at outdoor events smoking would be banned within 10 metres of a food stall. Almost 4000 Victori- ans lose their lives each year to tobacco, with the habit costing smokers $2.4billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity each year. According to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy, smoking remains a lead- ing cause of preventable chronic disease and death. She said people caught smoking in out- door dining areas would face on-the-spot fines of more than $150, with a maximum penalty of more than $750 applying. “We know smoking kills – that’s why we’re taking action to protect Victorians from second- hand smoke,” Minister Hennessy said. “Our tough new laws will pro- tect young kids from the risks of e-cigarettes, and help de-normalise smok- ing.” Government moves to protect youngsters from e-cigarettes www.tankarddental.com.au ROBINVALE Ph: 5026 3536 160 Bromley Rd OUYEN Ph: 5092 1121 Britt St (Hospotal Site) BERRI Ph: 08 8582 2796 11 Crawford Tc e SURGERY Preventative Dental Services Including: • Consultations • Fissure Sealants • Scale and Clean • X-rays *Providing you have already served your waiting periods, are within your annual limit and you hold an eligible level of cover. 155 Langtree Avenue, Mildura | Phone 5022 2933 A/H Emergency 0419 381 125 when available Monday - Tuesday 8am - 7pm, Wednesday - Friday 8am - 6pm, Saturday 9am - 1pm (by appointment) *Providing you have already served your waiting periods, are within your annual limit and you hold an eligible level of cover. 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Friday July 1 Vol 10 No 34
Friday July 15 Vol 10 No 36