Low aromatic fuel will be introduced into Palm Island from next month to help tackle petrol sniffing.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, announced during a visit to the island today that the Australian Government would subsidise the low aromatic fuel (LAF).
“This responds to community concerns about an increasing number of petrol sniffers on the island,” Minister Scullion said.
“The community approached the Government last year requesting LAF to complement the existing community and government initiatives in place to tackle sniffing.
“We need to act now to prevent young Australians from suffering the serious consequences of petrol sniffing.
“We know LAF is the most effective prevention strategy we have in tackling petrol sniffing.
“A recent report from the Menzies School of Health Research showed that levels of petrol sniffing decreased in communities and regions that have replaced regular unleaded petrol with low aromatic fuel.”
Member for Herbert, Ewen Jones, said the introduction of LAF would have a positive benefit on the island.
“The community has asked for this and the Abbott Government is responding by ensuring LAF is introduced to help the community tackle the scourge of petrol sniffing,” Mr Jones said.
“To complement the introduction of LAF, the Australian Government will fund youth diversionary activities on Palm Island, including workshops on music, dance, singing, visual art and creative writing.
“This builds on existing activities for young people on Palm Island, including the Night Café, Youth Patrol and Police Citizens and Youth Club activities.”
The Minister said the introduction of low aromatic fuel will also be supported by a comprehensive education campaign, providing technical information about the fuel and the health benefits in eliminating petrol sniffing.
It’s estimated the subsidy will cost approximately $300,000 per year, though this cost is likely to reduce from late 2014 when a bulk storage facility opens in Darwin.
The subsidy ensures LAF is available to consumers at the same price as regular unleaded petrol, effectively countering higher transport costs.
The Australian Government has provided approximately $19 million for the Darwin facility to ensure an effective and sustainable supply of LAF right across northern Australia.
Download media release:
2014-02-26 Palm Island Opal Fuel roll-out.pdf