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Australian Minister Won't Lift Smoking Ban

7 March 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australia) Age: "Health Minister Bronwyn Pike has rejected a controversial push by the Victorian National Party to relax a smoking ban on gaming venues on the border between Victoria and New South Wales.

"Ms Pike said the Nationals' proposal to allow smoking in Victorian gaming venues within about 10 kilometres of the Murray River was unworkable.

"…Clubs and hotels along the border say they are losing patrons to their interstate rivals, which allow smoking in gaming areas.

"National Party leader Peter Ryan called for a change to smoking bans in clubs and hotels with gaming machines to protect businesses and clubs suffering from substantial drops in turnover.

"…`The practical problem is that many of these enterprises have invested heavily on the basis of an existing law that the Government has now seen fit to change. And the Government has created a border anomaly - we need to fix it,' he said…"

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