Health Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2019 Introduced Into Victorian Parliament

Tuesday 3 September 2019 @ 2.25 p.m. | Corporate & Regulatory | Legal Research

On 28 August 2019, the Minister for Mental Health, Mr Martin Foley, introduced the Health Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2019 (VIC) (“the Bill”) to the Victorian Legislative Assembly. The Bill consists of a wide range of amendments to several health-related acts. If passed, the Bill aims to:

  • strengthen existing e-cigarette and tobacco advertising prohibitions
  • repeal the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (VIC)
  • allow for greater information sharing to improve health service quality and safety

E-cigarette and Tobacco Advertising Prohibitions

Under the current Tobacco Act 1987 (VIC), the definition of a ‘tobacco or e-cigarette advertisement’ in section 3B(1) includes any visual image or any audible message or any combination of 2 or more of those things, that gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote any of the following:

  • Smoking
  • Purchase or use of a tobacco or e-cigarette products
  • Whole or part of a design or trademark registered with respect to tobacco or e-cigarette products
  • Whole or part of the name or a person who is the manufacturer or whose name appears on any packaging
  • Any other words or designs closely associated with a tobacco or e-cigarette product

The Bill intends to modify and extend this definition in two ways. Firstly, the Bill proposes to add to the definition any other words or designs, or combination of words and designs that are closely associated with the manufacturer.  Secondly, the Bill proposes to state explicitly that words and designs will be considered closely associated with the manufacturer where the manufacturer enters into any contract or understanding with a person for that person to give publicity to or intend to promote, the words or designs. The intention of extending the definition is to accommodate for the ‘diversification of commercial tactics’ and cover ‘new and indirect forms of advertising’ by the tobacco and e-cigarette industry.

Furthermore, the Bill proposes to repeal section 10 of the Tobacco Act 1987 (VIC) which currently enables the Governor in Council to exempt certain sports or arts functions from the standard operation of tobacco advertising prohibitions.

Repeal the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016

Due to the establishment of a comprehensive national regulatory system for medicinal cannabis shortly after the Victorian Act was passed, the Bill proposes to repeal the Victorian Act to reduce regulatory duplication and ‘unnecessary red tape’.

Information Sharing for Quality and Safety Purposes

The current law enables health care services to apply for the collection, use and disclosure of identified information on a case-by-case basis. The proposed amendments of the Bill intend to reduce the regulatory burden of the process of accessing this information for quality and safety purposes.

If passed, the Bill will allow the Secretary and quality and safety bodies (primarily, Safer Care Victoria and the Victorian Agency for Health Information) to use information for quality and safety purposes with each other. Further, the Bill proposes that a health service entity be able to disclose such information to the secretary of a quality and safety body and that the Minister may authorise a health service entity to use information provided by another health service entity. The Bill outlines the role of an appointed special advisor by the Secretary or quality and safety body to carry out the administrative responsibilities of information sharing in relation to one or more health service entities.

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Health Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2019 (Vic) and explanatory material, available from TimeBase's LawOne service

Media Release: Laws To Crack Down On Sneaky, Dangerous Tobacco Ads (Minister for Health, 28 August 2019)

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