Tobacco Plain Packaging is Only First Step

Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Health spokesperson
Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today said that while the recent High Court decision on tobacco plain packaging was a social policy milestone, the state still had a responsibility to drive further health reforms that would foster healthier communities and help reduce strains on the health system.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP said Tasmania was poised to take a more focused approach on preventative health should the Greens’ push for a Joint House Select Committee to be established be endorsed by the Legislative Council.

Mr O’Halloran also said that he had been working with Ruth Forrest MLC to progress the initiative through the Legislative Council, and expected that debate to occur this sitting week.

“The Greens have been driving the campaign to tackle smoking impacts on the community, both at the state and Federal level, and we whole-heartedly congratulate those who refused to be cowed by the vested interests of Big Tobacco campaigning against the plain packaging reforms,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“However, we cannot rest there.  More needs to be done to build on the High Court decision and really tackle smoking and other areas which have such a negative impact on people’s health, and on our health system.”

“A coherent preventative health focus is essential if we are going to build in a real chance to both minimise lifestyle diseases, which in turn invests in real savings to be gained across our health system.”

“The Greens proposed a Joint House Select Committee into preventative health last year, which as supported by the Lower House, and we are hopeful that the Legislative Council will also endorse it and come on board.”

“The tobacco plain packing debate and outcome demonstrates that where there is political will there is a way.  Having a State Joint House committee focused on driving a preventative health agenda will be able to build on the smoking momentum and deliver healthier outcomes for Tasmanians, and for the State Budget,” Mr O’Halloran said.