Smoking bans at railway station to widen

Smokers will be banned from lighting up anywhere on Ballarat railway station platforms from early 2014 and similar laws could be rolled out to all bus stops next, the state government announced yesterday.

Health Minister David Davis said changes to transport regulations would prohibit smoking on all Victorian railway station platforms as well as on raised platforms at tram stops.

Until now, smoking has been banned only in covered areas of train platforms and within tram and bus shelters.

Mr Davis said the extended bans would aid the health and wellbeing of other public transport users, particularly school children.

“These new bans in public transport areas are extending the no-go zones for smokers in the community,” Mr Davis said.

But Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the Coalition was considering even wider bans on smoking in public transport areas.

These could see smoking prohibited at all bus stations across Ballarat in the near future.

“It is important that the community is able to use public transport with a minimum of inconvenience,” Mr Mulder said.

Mr Davis said on the question of bus stops, the government was “certainly looking at that” and prepared to take further steps.

The number of infringements issued for smoking offences on the public transport has steadily increased across the state during the past few years.

The fine for smoking within the covered areas of station platforms, tram stops and bus shelters is $212 for adults and $72 for children.

This same fine will now apply to smoking anywhere on railway station platforms and raised platforms at tram stops.

Fines for smoking can be issued by Authorised Officers, Protective Services Officers and police.

But for Ballarat commuters, who don’t have permanent PSOs deployed, the pressure on people not to light up is expected to be largely self-regulated.

“As with many anti-smoking initiatives, they are largely self-policing,” Mr Davis said.

“The community will ensure that the law is largely obeyed.”

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Ballarat Railway Station.

Ballarat Railway Station.