Bunbury Mayor rules out beach smoking ban

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan has ruled out a beach smoking ban after labelling it impractical.
Camera IconBunbury Mayor Gary Brennan has ruled out a beach smoking ban after labelling it impractical. Credit: WA News

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan has doused any suggestions of smoking being banned from the city’s beaches.

Mr Brennan ruled out Bunbury City Council following in Cottesloe Town Council’s footsteps after the metro council voted in new restrictions last week.

Cottesloe is the third metropolitan local government in WA to ban smoking after Joondalup in 2007 and Cockburn in 2008.

The council will be relying heavily on the public to self-police the restrictions, which councillors said was not about infringements but rather about education and awareness of the impact on the environment and other people.

While Mr Brennan said he “abhors” smoking, banning it on beaches was not “practical” from the council’s view point.

“Whenever a local government introduces a local law to do something, you have to have the capacity to police it,” Mr Brennan said.

“There’s no point in having a local law if you’re not going to police it and certainly from a City of Bunbury point of view, our rangers are fully engaged with doing what they do already.”

He said he strongly supported bar, restaurants and cafes being smoke-free, but the council had to draw a line.

“I am a person who abhors smoking – I simply can’t stand it when people smoke, but I also respect the fact that people make choices for themselves,” he said.

“I’m not supportive of that suggestion at all.”

Cancer Council South West regional education officer Shenae Norris said it was “excellent” Cottesloe was strengthening legislation around smoking and ideally all beaches should be smoke-free.

“However, this would mean that we would need support from all local governments in the South West,” she said.

“It would be fantastic to see at least one local government in our region follow the City of Cottesloe’s footsteps.

She said there was already support nationally for similar policies.

“A 2015 survey of the NSW general public reported that 79 per cent of respondents supported making beaches smoke-free,” she said.

“Non-smokers and younger people – under 40 years – were more likely to be supportive of making beaches smoke-free.

“These sorts of policies are generally self-enforcing, we know that the clear majority of smokers would not want to subject others to second hand smoke.

“Good signage and public education would be important in the implementation of smoke free beaches.”

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