The Low Aromatic Fuel Act - combating Petrol Sniffing in Regional Areas

Release Date: 
3 April 2019
Media release

The Commonwealth Government is committed to continue rolling out low aromatic fuel as part of a proven strategy to reduce the harm caused by petrol sniffing.
 
A review of the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 has been completed and tabled in Parliament.
 
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the Act was required to be reviewed every five years.
 
“The review included consultation and submissions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, local service providers, fuel manufacturers and outlets, QLD and NT Governments and other ministers and parliamentarians,” Minister Scullion said.
 
“The review also drew on preliminary findings of a University of Queensland research project into petrol sniffing in communities including Palm Island, Tennant Creek and Katherine designated as low aromatic fuel areas.
 
“Petrol sniffing has been a source of illness, death and social dysfunction in Indigenous communities over the past few decades.
 
“The review backed the Commonwealth Government’s current approach of encouraging voluntary conversion to low aromatic fuel and using the powers of the act as a last resort.
 
“The recent voluntary conversion by the Marla Travellers Rest outlet and Cadney Park Roadhouse in South Australia demonstrates the willingness of petrol station owners to combat petrol sniffing. This public effort demonstrates how the Act is used as a last resort with most conversions to stocking low aromatic fuel coming from private initiative and community agreement.”
 
Low aromatic fuel is now available in 175 locations in remote and regional areas of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
 
“The replacement of regular unleaded petrol with low aromatic fuel has been shown to reduce petrol sniffing by up to 88% since 2005-2007,” Minister Scullion said.
 
“The Commonwealth Government has spent more than $158 million to support the rollout of low aromatic fuel including fuel production, transport, infrastructure, and research.
 
“Petrol sniffing has devastating consequences wherever it occurs, leading to enormous harm to children and young people in particular. Sniffing leads to behavioural and social problems and people who sniff fuel can sadly end up with serious and irreversible brain damage.
 
“Replacing regular unleaded petrol with low aromatic fuel in and around regions where there is a risk of petrol sniffing is a proven strategy to reduce petrol sniffing.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet works with stakeholders to continue to monitor and investigate concerns of petrol sniffing where they arise and work with fuel outlets to encourage them to stock low aromatic fuel in regions where petrol sniffing is an issue.
 
The review can be found here.