Ryan v. Port Phillip CC

This case related to an application for a permit to operate licensed premises in circumstances where new tobacco laws had just come into effect (Tobacco (Amendment) Act 2006 (Vic)). The new tobacco laws prohibited smoking in enclosed licensed premises; however, smoking in outdoor areas such as balconies, courtyards, etc was still permitted. The concern was that by forcing smokers to congregate in outdoor areas to smoke, this would cause adverse off-site environmental amenity impacts through noise, unruly behaviour, odour and butt litter. The issue was whether the operators of the licensed premises should be responsible for these amenity impacts and, if so, whether they should be required to provide an outdoor smoking area for patrons.

The Tribunal accepted that a proportion of people attending licensed premises will want to smoke notwithstanding that the internal areas are smoke-free. It further noted that although smoke-free laws had existed for some time for workplaces and restaurants and there had not been significant amenity impacts, the situation was likely to be different for licensed premises.

The Tribunal found that, as a general principle, adverse effects should be dealt with on-site and ameliorated. One of the costs of the new tobacco laws was that licensed premises would need to make provision for patrons to smoke outdoors in such a way that noise did not interfere with nearby residents.

The Tribunal considered and rejected an argument that a requirement to provide an on-site smoking area might undermine smoke-free laws, observing that the new laws did not ban smoking per se; rather, they banned smoking within enclosed areas because of the risks to health associated with people being in a smokey atmosphere.


Ryan v Port Philiip CC [2006] VCAT 1923

  • Australia
  • Sep 19, 2006
  • Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal


Plaintiff Ann Ryan

Defendant Port Phillip City Council

Legislation Cited

Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic)

Tobacco (Amendment) Act 2006 (Vic)

Related Documents

Type of Litigation


Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product