A riot broke out at a maximum security prison in Melbourne, Australia, after a smoking ban was imposed on the facility, according to reports.

Television footage by Australia's Seven Network shows huge plumes of smoke sent in to the air as up to 300 rioting inmates burned property at Ravenhall Prison.

Prison staff had to be evacuated as police used tear gas and water canons to disperse the disturbance. In a press conference after the events, Jan Shuard, corrections commissioner for Victoria state, said no staff were harmed in the riot.

"I'm very pleased to report at this stage I have no reports of any staff hurt today at the prison," she confirmed.

The smoking ban, imposed at prisons across the state, was due to take effect at Ravenhall Prison on Tuesday (30 June). A similar smoking ban was blamed for a 1997 prison riot at Woodford correctional centre in Queensland.