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Rann Government denies ignoring petrol sniffing issue

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 14 March 2005

The South Australia Government insists it has not ignored the issue of petrol sniffing in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands in the state's far north-west.

Coroner Wayne Chivell has handed down his findings on the deaths of four men, three of which were directly related to petrol sniffing.

In handing down his findings, Mr Chivell wondered if recommendations he had made back in 2002 to address the problem were inappropriate or had not been acted on.

But acting Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jay Weatherill says the State Government has not ignored the recommendations and has put many additional resources into the lands.

"We've acted on a range of Wayne Chevill's recommendations from 2002 and we've added to them," he said.

"I mean, we've done things which weren't contemplated in those recommendations - we've taken the matter further."

But the State Government has conceded more work needs to be done to tackle the problem of petrol sniffing in remote Aboriginal communities.

Mr Weatherill says the State Government has committed $25 million over five years in an effort to rebuild community-based programs.

"Initially our response was to ensure that we had as many people and resources applied to the land as we possibly could, and what we're seeking to do is put a coordinator in the land to see if those resources are coordinated," he said.

"But look, more effort has been put and more responsibility has been accepted for the APY Lands [Anangu Pitjantjatjara] by this Government than any time in the last decade."

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