Smoking in outdoor dining areas to be banned from 1 August 2017

We previously reported on the April 2015 amendments to the Tobacco Act 1987 (Vic), which banned smoking within 4 metres of certain public premises including hospitals, schools and registered community health centres. The Minister for Health has gone one step further, announcing additional bans of smoking within outdoor dining areas including cafes, take-away shops and beer gardens from 1 August 2017.

Consultation will start soon with key stakeholders including the hospitality industry, small business, local government, public health bodies and government agencies.  The long lead time between the announcement and the implementation of the ban is designed to give businesses sufficient time to plan and adjust.

The announcement endorses new research from VicHealth which shows that 67% of Victorians support the Government introducing regulations for smoke-free dining areas. VicHealth CEO, Jerril Rechter, congratulated/commended the Government for taking a leading role in helping Victorians breathe easy.

To view the announcement, click here.

To view our previous alert, click here.

News

AHPRA reports on performance in Queensland

On 24 August 2015, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) released quarterly data to the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) about its management of complaints in Queensland.  The co-regulatory model attempts to streamline notification processes in regulating health practitioners.  The report focusses on the number of preliminary assessments, investigations and hearings over the reporting period and the timeliness in progressing and completing each.

AHPRA and the national boards have signalled an intention to further improve regulation by implementing risk thresholds, promoting early consultation and continuing to share regulatory data at a national level.

To view AHPRA’s media release, click here.

To view the full report, click here.

Cases

ACCC takes contempt action against Advanced Medical Institute

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against NRM Corporation Pty Ltd and NRM Trading Pty Ltd (together, NRM) alleging that NRM is in contempt of court for breaching previous Orders of the Federal Court, which formed part of the Judgment delivered on 22 April 2015 by Justice North.

The Orders prohibited the NRM (formerly the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI)) from entering agreements with patients in certain circumstances and required NRM not to make statements or representations about the efficacy of the treatments and medical services they offer (except when made directly to a patient by a duly qualified medical practitioner in person or via video-link).

ACCC’s Acting Chair, Delia Rickard, said the NRM had made statements or representations on the AMI website, as well as in television and radio advertisements, in breach of the Orders.

While a directions hearing for the ACCC’s new proceeding will be listed in the Federal Court at Melbourne, the decision of the Federal Court is currently the subject of an appeal brought by the NRM scheduled to be heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court on 16 November 2015.

To view the original decision, click here

Legislation

Gene Technology Amendment Bill 2015

On 20 August 2015, the Gene Technology Amendment Bill 2015 (Vic) passed both houses of Federal Parliament and now awaits Royal Assent.

The Bill amends the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Vic) in discontinuing quarterly reporting to the Minister, clarifying which dealings may be authorised by inadvertent dealings licenses, removing the requirement that the Gene Technology Regulator maintain a record of genetically-modified product approvals made by other agencies, updating advertising requirements for public consultation and amending licence variation requirements.

To view the Bill, click here.

To view the Second Reading Speech, click here.