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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 230

Senator Allison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 1 December 2004:

(1)   What action is being taken by the Government in response to the department’s report, Counting the cost: Estimates of the social costs of drug abuse in Australia in 1998-99, that indicated that over half of all domestic fires are linked with cigarettes, as are between 7 and 30 per cent of bushfires in certain areas.

(2)   Does the Government intend to introduce laws similar to those in the United States of America to ensure that cigarettes are fire-safe; if not, why not.

Senator Patterson (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The report in question is produced as a resource for use by both government and non-government agencies in dealing with drug issues. Many of the issues raised are state and territory responsibilities. Fire prevention is one of these.

(2)   The United States of America does not have laws on this matter. One State (New York) has legislated along these lines. The Government would consider any action in this regard to be a matter for the state and territory governments.