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Petrol sniffing outbreak demonstrates the need for legislation

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 Apr 2012

An outbreak of petrol sniffing in Katherine demonstrates the need for legislation to support the rollout of non sniffable fuel, the Australian Greens said today.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has a Private Member's bill before the Senate that could be used to mandate the sale of non-sniffable fuel in at-risk communities if retailers are unwilling to participate in efforts to reduce the harm of petrol sniffing.

"While of course we would like to see retailers in Katherine roll out non-sniffable fuel voluntarily and call on them to do so such legislation would ensure roll out happens.

“Our legislation is designed to enhance the rollout of Opal and importantly, lessen the harm on communities,” Senator Siewert said today.

“The Bill gives the Minister power to designate areas as ‘low aromatic areas’, allowing for the provision of materials and assistance for the rollout of low aromatic fuel and the introduction of controls over the storage and rollout of other fuel types.

“This Bill could also be used to prohibit people from stocking regular fuel if they were unwilling to comply with the Opal rollout.

“The Petrol Sniffing Strategy has lead to a decline in petrol sniffing in Central Australia but the continued incidents of petrol sniffing in areas not linked to the rollout demonstrates the need for legislation.

“By allowing the Government to regulate the supply of fuel in certain affected areas, we can reduce the harm to communities,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Senator Siewert’s Low Aromatic Fuel Bill 2012 was introduced in the Senate on 1 March 2012 - http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=s870

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