Smoke blown out of public contracts

By Paul Hemsley

The Australian workplace institution of the ‘smoko’ is set to be stubbed out for contract workers on government jobs.

Clauses that ban smoking in government tender contracts are now being gradually introduced across the public sector, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) says.

The move to extinguish the carcinogenic addiction in the workplace is part of a wider push by Canberra and the states to reduce the incidence of preventable lifestyle-related illnesses caused by overconsumption of alcohol, tobacco and processed foods.

It comes as the federal government today secured a vital High Court victory in its fight against the tobacco industry to introduce drab and unappealing plain packaging for cigarette packets.

The decision sets a worldwide precedent for other jurisdictions who are likely to follow the Australian government’s lead.

Speaking at the Health and Productivity Management Congress in Sydney, ANPHA manager of policy and programs, Dr Lisa Studdert, told delegates that non-smoking clauses had taken some time to introduce but were now coming into force.

“Believe it or not, [the non-smoking clauses are] only just coming in now but that’s reinforcing the legislation and regulatory requirements that are already in place in states and territories,” Dr Studdert said.

The new contract clauses are part of what ANPHA calls the ‘National Tobacco Campaign’ which aims to help cut “the prevalence of adult daily smoking from 15.9 per cent currently, to 10 per cent or less by 2018.”

The anti-smoking push is part of a wider campaign that has had $102 million allocated to it in the federal budget for “social marketing campaigns.”

However Dr Studdert cautioned that regulatory changes were not necessarily an effective measure for governments to take unless there was better community understanding of the health risks that tobacco, alcohol and obesity posed.

She said that public education was a necessary and important element, but not necessarily sufficient in itself because it had little effect on public perception without other changes.

“Asking for those other regulatory and fiscal changes doesn’t necessarily work in a democratic government process,” she said.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required