Strengthening Indigenous Communities - Reducing Substance Abuse (Petrol Sniffing)

The Government has committed $55.2 million in this year’s Budget to continue to combat the devastating effects of substance abuse, in particular petrol sniffing, on remote Indigenous communities.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is it important?

  • Substance use has a profound impact on the social and economic wellbeing of Indigenous communities. This initiative will assist communities to break the cycle of drug dependence, regain control and build better functioning communities through education, justice, community support and health initiatives.

Who will benefit?

  • Indigenous individuals, families and communities in the central desert region and two other regions. The central desert region covers an area of around 280,000 square kilometres. Approximately 6,000 Indigenous Australians live in the central desert region. It is estimated that about 10 per cent of these are chronic petrol sniffers.
  • Young people affected by petrol sniffing will have access to a safe-place for prolonged periods of abstinence and will receive support to develop life skills to sustain a drug-free existence on return to their home communities.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government has committed a total of new funding of $55.2 million over four years for this initiative.

What have we done in the past?

  • The Petrol Sniffing Prevention Programme supplies non-sniffable fuel to Indigenous communities.
  • The 2005-06 Budget provided an additional $9.6 million over four years to extend the Programme to more communities.
  • The 2005-06 Budget provided $8.0 million over four years to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities deal with drug and alcohol abuse.
  • In September 2005 a further $9.5 million over two years was provided for a whole-of-government approach to tackle petrol sniffing in the central desert region of central Australia.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative will be reviewed in the 2010-11 Budget.

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