Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury has given the go-ahead to tobacco-related reforms, including packaging that will help ease the pressure off retailers.
Amendments will be made to the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011, which will remove the obligation for retailers to rotate graphic health warnings on tobacco products.
According to the Australia Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) CEO Terry Mott the initial requirement for retailers to audit 14 Graphic Health Warnings on every packet of stock each four months was unworkable and is grateful of the government’s decision.
“The amendment reinstates the onus of responsibility on tobacco manufacturers and importers rather than individual retailers to rotate graphic health warnings. This will still achieve the government’s objective without an unnecessary red tape and cost burden along with a real threat of prosecution on even the smallest liquor retailers,” he said.
In a separate announcement, Bradbury also said that recommendations made to him by the Newsagents Association of NSW & ACT (NANA) in regards to changes to the tobacco information standard will also be reviewed.
The plain packaging reforms, which were introduced on December 1, 2012, meant retailers were unable to sell any leftover branded stock after that time. If they did they could face fines of up to $1.1 million per offence.
Bradbury will be conducting a 21 day consultation with his state and territory counterparts till 19 June 2013 recommending the removal of the obligation on Newsagents/retailers and restoring this responsibility only to tobacco manufacturers and importers.
Anticipating no objections from state and territory governments as well as no new obstacles, the corrected tobacco standard could be in place well before 12 August 2013 when the Federal Government goes into caretaker mode.