The Australian Greens will use the findings of a Senate Inquiry to improve their proposed legislation to help the rollout of low aromatic fuel in areas affected by petrol sniffing.
The Community Affairs Legislation Committee today handed down its report into the Australian Greens’ Low Aromatic Fuel Bill 2012.
Senator Rachel Siewert, who introduced the Bill into the Senate, says the legislation is strongly supported by communities and organisations working to eliminate petrol sniffing.
“There is overwhelming support for legislation to give the Minister the power to mandate low aromatic fuel. Organisations in Central Australia, health and drug services and individuals from affected communities have all voiced their support for this legislation,” Senator Siewert said today.
“Retailers who continue to stock sniffable fuel are undermining the rollout currently taking place. The committee noted cases where this resistance has been continuing for more than five years.
“The rollout of Opal has shown very strong results, particularly when it is combines with outreach, prevention and diversionary programs and it is important we finish the job.
“Currently the Minister lacks the power to ensure that this rollout is successful.
“The Bill would assist the current rollout of fuel by enabling the Government to mandate its supply in at-risk areas if voluntary take-up does not occur.
“I'm concerned that the recommendation that the Australian Government continue to consult with States and Territories on the possibility of national legislation is short hand for ‘doing nothing’.
“I will use the committee report to strengthen the legislation. Some of the recommendations require further consider and consultation, I intend to undertake these consultations as soon as possible and make these amendments before bringing the Bill on for debate in the Senate.
“The amendments and any associated consultation that are needed can be undertaken without deferring the Bill unnecessarily.
“I'm amazed that the Government thinks it can simply draw a line through the legislation and recommend that it not be passed. We cannot overlook the continuing need for action.
“Low aromatic fuel has been very successful in stopping petrol sniffing, this Bill will build on the success to date. It has been seven years since Opal fuel was first rolled out, how much more time does the Government need to realise that to optimise the effectiveness of low aromatic fuel this sort of legislation is needed?” Senator Siewert concluded.