INDIGO Council will push the Victorian government to ban smoking in public dining areas.
The move follows a motion adopted at this week’s council meeting at Rutherglen.
It directed the council’s chief executive Brendan McGrath to investigate the financial, environmental and social implications of progressively banning smoking across the shire.
It also directed Mr McGrath to write to Premier Ted Baillieu and Health Minister David Davis to extend the smoking ban from sporting grounds and parks to outdoor dining areas.
Mr Davis announced last week that smoking would be banned from children’s playgrounds, skate parks and sporting facilities.
Cr Don Chambers said the ban did not go far enough.
“I don’t believe there should be any smoking where you’re eating,” Cr Chambers said.
“We as a council have a responsibility for the health and safety of our community.
“We’ve got to lead the way.”
It’s a push that could be supported by the majority of Indigo’s constituents.
The 2011 VicHealth Indicator Survey found the shire showed the strongest support in the state for banning smoking in outside dining areas.
The 76.8 per cent of people in support was significantly higher than the state average of 69.8 per cent.
Cr Chambers went further, saying smoking should be banned from public thoroughfares as well.
“We’ve got to move smoking out of our main streets,” he said.
“When I walk down the main street of Rutherglen, many times I passed the Star Hotel or the Vic, there were three or four, usually guys, out there having a fag and we’ve got children walking up and down the street.”
Cr Chambers wants to talk to smokers to find a solution that would also suit them.
“I’m not saying we’re going to do it tomorrow. It’s let’s start the conversation with people.”
Mr Davis said last week his government was “looking very closely” at smoking bans in outdoor dining areas and would make further announcements in the future.
The only council that has introduced bans on smoking in outdoor dining areas is Baw Baw Shire in West Gippsland, which did so after a year-long trial.