Progress on the Rollout of Low Aromatic Fuel
New legislation to regulate the use of regular unleaded petrol in certain areas of Australia as a measure to prevent petrol sniffing was passed in the House of Representatives on 6 February 2013.
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New legislation to regulate the use of regular unleaded petrol in certain areas of Australia as a measure to prevent petrol sniffing has been passed today in the House of Representatives.
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said the legislation would give the Australian Government the power to strengthen the existing voluntary rollout of low aromatic fuel under the Petrol Sniffing Prevention Program, with options for mandatory arrangements for supply in certain areas.
Mr Snowdon said there is still a responsibility on petrol retailers to stock low aromatic fuel in areas which have identified a petrol sniffing issue, and on the States and Territories to introduce and/or use their own legislation to address the problem.
The Petrol Sniffing Prevention Program has been supporting the rollout of low aromatic fuel, such as Opal fuel, as a replacement for regular unleaded petrol since 2005. There are at present 127 sites receiving low aromatic fuel across rural and remote Australia.
“The introduction of low aromatic fuel has been shown to make an impact, reducing the incidence of petrol sniffing by more than 70 per cent and by up to 90 per cent in some areas.
“The success of the program depends on restricting access to regular unleaded petrol on a regional basis,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there are some sites that have refused to take part in the voluntary program, and their refusal undermines the efforts and impact of participating sites in nearby regions.”
The Low Aromatic Fuel Bill, which will become the Low Aromatic Fuel Act after it receives Royal Assent, was introduced into the Senate as a private member’s bill in March 2012.
The Australian Government made a series of amendments to the original bill, strengthening some provisions and giving the Minister power to act if the State and Territory Governments failed to take steps to ensure the supply of low aromatic fuel within their jurisdictions.
The Low Aromatic Fuel Act will allow the Australian Government Minister to designate an area as a low aromatic fuel area, or fuel control area, and specify the use of only low aromatic fuel and/or regulate the availability of other types of fuel. It is expected this legislation will complement existing State and Territory legislation that regulates supply of volatile substances, including petrol, between individuals.
Low aromatic fuel is widely available in Central Australia and the Western Australian Goldfields and Ngaanyatjarra Lands. There are plans to further expand the rollout of low aromatic fuel to the top end of the Northern Territory, the Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York, the East Kimberley in Western Australia, and Coober Pedy in South Australia.
For more information, contact the minister’s office on 02 6277 7820
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