COLAC businesses will enforce new smoking bans in three weeks aimed at protecting people from second-hand smoke.
The bans will stop people from smoking on the grounds or within four metres of an entrance to a hospital, community health services, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools, courts and police stations.
The bans were set to start on June 30 but will now begin on April 13.
People caught smoking within the banned zones will receive a $147 on-the-spot fine, or maximum fine of $738.
Colac Secondary College principal Simon Dewar said he welcomed the changes and said they would help stop people smoking near the school and Colac Library’s shared entrance.
“I think the new smoking bans will really reflect the other legislation in public areas which have been significant for changes over the years and they are reflected by bans from our point-of-view,” Mr Dewar said.
“We’re in join agreement with the library about raising awareness of community visitors and groups that not smoking on school grounds does apply to the library area,” he said.
“Smoking regulations have been in place in schools for a long period; this just reflects the entrance.”
Colac Area Health chief executive officer Geoff Iles said the board welcomed the bans which complemented plans to stop people smoking at Colac Hospital.
“We have been going through a program of making Colac Area Health a non-smoking entity in its entirety,” Mr Iles said.
“We are very happy the matter’s been taken up to the state level and having government make the decision which makes it a state-wide approach, we couldn’t be happier,” he said.
“Passive smoking is always a problem and it’s more problematic than I think most people appreciate, so having these steps being taken just reinforces the message we’ve been trying to put forward.”
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the bans would help decrease the amount of people affected by passive smoking.
“Too many Victorian still die from smoking. These bans are a key step in reducing the harm caused by tobacco,” she said.
“Hospitals are where we go to heal. We want to ensure patients and their visitors aren’t subjected to second-hand smoke.”