Joint Media Release with Member for Herbert Ewen Jones MP
The Australian Government, with the support of the Palm Island community, has made the sale of regular unleaded fuel on Palm Island illegal.
A Legislative Instrument signed by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, under the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 has been registered, making the sale of the petrol on the island illegal. It is the first time an area has been designated as a low aromatic fuel area under the Act.
“The roll out of low aromatic fuel is a high priority for the Australian Government as part of a proven strategy to reduce harmful petrol sniffing,” Minister Scullion said.
“The Legislative Instrument has come into effect and so it is now illegal to supply, transport, or possess regular unleaded petrol for supply to a person on Palm Island. 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. My decision will not affect the availability of diesel fuel on the island.
“Stopping the sale of regular unleaded fuel will make a big impact on petrol sniffing and the damage it does to the health and safety of families on Palm Island, and will show other communities that low aromatic fuel is a better option. The health and wellbeing of children must come first.
“The Government will continue to work with stakeholders on Palm Island to ensure there is a smooth transition to this trading environment.”
The Member for Herbert, Ewen Jones, said petrol sniffing was a serious social issue and this was something that had to be done in consultation with the local community to stamp it out.
“Substance misuse like this is a scourge on our society and I’m glad the Minister has done what he could to improve the situation,” Mr Jones said.
The Menzies School of Health Research has found that where low aromatic fuel has been introduced, sniffing rates have decreased by up to 88 per cent.
There are now more than 150 locations in remote and regional areas in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory that sell low aromatic fuel.