The sale and distribution of regular unleaded fuel is now illegal in communities in and around Katherine and Tennant Creek.
Legislative Instruments signed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, under the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 have been registered, making the sale of regular unleaded petrol in these regions illegal.
“The Australian Government is rolling out low aromatic fuel (LAF) to these communities as part of a proven strategy to reduce harmful petrol sniffing,” Minister Scullion said.
“It is now illegal to supply, transport, or possess regular unleaded petrol for supply to a person in these regions. If a corporation does any of these things, it will commit an offence under the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 and may be fined up to $54,000 per offence.
“We have been working with stakeholders and community organisations from Katherine in the north down to Tennant Creek and will continue to do so to ensure there is a smooth transition to these new arrangements. Part of the roll out includes providing information to tourists travelling throughout the regions to ensure they are aware of the changes.
“My decision will not affect the availability of diesel fuel or premium unleaded in affected communities.”
Minister Scullion said petrol sniffing had fallen by up to 88 per cent in regions where LAF had been made available.
“LAF has a proven track record and is available in more than 150 locations across remote and regional areas of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory,” Minister Scullion said.
Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service is a regional petrol sniffing prevention programme. Its manager, Tristan Ray, welcomed the designation of the low aromatic fuel zone in Tennant Creek and Katherine.
“It will help a number of communities to our north where petrol sniffing has continued in recent years,” Mr Ray said.
“Aboriginal leaders and service organisations have been campaigning for a comprehensive roll out of LAF in Central Australia for many years.
“Used together with youth programmes and other complementary measures, it has made a huge difference in reducing sniffing problems in our region.”
The designated LAF areas are Tennant Creek, the Threeways Roadhouse, Katherine, Adelaide River, Hayes Creek, Pine Creek, Mary River Roadhouse, Tindal, Nitmiluk and Mataranka.
For more information about using low aromatic unleaded fuel visit www.lowaromaticunleaded.gov.au