By Ian Neubauer

ClubsNSW will face off against the NSW Health Department tomorrow (September 11) in a Supreme Court bid to secure a legal interpretation of what constitutes an outdoor area where patrons can legally smoke.

The action was determined necessary by ClubsNSW after the health department began issuing warning letters to registered clubs relating to the design of their outdoor areas.

The difference in interpretation relates to what section of the outdoor area is subject to the legislation defining an outdoor area. ClubsNSW maintains the legislation relates to the entire outdoor area, but the Health Department is applying the definition to just the covered part of the outdoor area.

ClubsNSW CEO, David Costello, said the decision to commence legal action was not made lightly.

“It appears the Health Department is resolute in its interpretation of an outdoor area, just as we are in ours. ClubsNSW believes that the decision of the Supreme Court is now the only way forward for clubs to secure definition certainty,” he said.

Registered clubs NSW have been financially battered by anti-smoking laws that came into effect in July last year. In August, ClubsNSW reported its members’ worst financial year on record, with an 11 per cent fall in revenue on the previous 12 months and the closure or amalgamation of 25 venues.

ClubsNSW attributes the bad result to the new smoking laws that impacted the profitability of poker machines, with punters now forced to exit the club or use specially designed smoking areas to light up.

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The Shout Team

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