Local councils in the Northern Territory have banded together to
unanimously support the roll out of a non-sniffable fuel to combat
petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities.
Councils want the specially-developed "opal" fuel to replace unleaded
petrol because it does not have intoxicating properties.
Ray Wooldridge, from the Local Government Association of the Northern
Territory, says petrol sniffing is a major issue for Aboriginal
communities, even for those without unleaded petrol at their bowsers.
He says a two litre bottle of unleaded petrol can fetch up to $50 on the
black market in some communities.
"The effort's been made to overcome the problem using comgas and avgas,"
"But unless you can remove the unleaded fuel from the surrounding
districts, then it's almost impossible to overcome the problem."
A spokeswoman for federal Health Minister Tony Abbott says the Federal
Government has committed $1 million to subsidising the use of opal in 37
She says the Government does not believe introducing the non-sniffable
fuel to 37 communities is a solution to the problem of petrol sniffing,
but it is a useful contribution.
The spokeswoman says the Government will look at the results of its
current commitment and will consider a roll out of pal across central
Australia in the future.