Cottesloe council plan to ban smoking on beaches may be over-reaching says Dept of Local Govt

DEPARTMENT of Local Government (DoLG) advice in three parts has told Cottesloe Council it may have to butt out of amending local laws to effectively ban smoking on the town’s 4.5km of beaches.

“Point three is more problematic and raises significant doubt that Council will receive the necessary approval from the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, as the proposed amendment currently stands,” a council staff report said last month.

Since last summer, Cr Sally Pyvis has lobbied to reduce cigarette butt litter and all beachgoers’ exposure to smoke, and until July seven public submissions were in favour of amending the town’s Property Local Law to ban smoking on beaches and nearby reserves.

However, the Department said any new law must be written in an acceptable format and it challenged whether all the beaches were in the council’s boundary.

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It said the standing committee may not approve the change because it may be an “inappropriate” use of the council’s powers.

“It’s not an issue about whether the Department of Local Government feels smoking should be banned on beaches, but whether a local government has the power to ban,” council chief executive Mat Humfrey said,

Sending the amended local law to the committee could cost $8000 and take up to six months.

Mr Humfrey said staff could investigate how to get the State Government to ban smoking on all beaches in WA.

“I fail to understand why we would be out there lobbying for bans elsewhere,” Cr Mark Rodda said.

It was agreed to take the Department’s advice, and hire a consultant to draft an “omnibus” new local law that would cover the DoLG’s issues before it is reconsidered in February.

The omnibus amendment to local laws would extend to the council’s maritime jurisdiction 200m offshore.

A Department spokeswoman said its advice was based on other local governments’ proposed laws banning plastic bags and cats, and previous local anti-smoking laws. “It is uncertain whether the committee would accept a local law that went further and attempted to ban smoking from general public areas,” she said.