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On 27 November 2012, the Senate passed the Greens' Low Aromatic Fuel Bill, making the roll out of low aromatic fuel mandatory in parts of the Northern Territory (NT), Western Australia (WA), South Australia (SA) and Queensland (Qld).
Under the new Bill, the supply of regular unleaded petrol to these identified problem areas will be replaced by low aromatic fuel. Low aromatic fuel (also known as Opal fuel) may help in reducing the incidence of volatile substance use - or 'petrol sniffing' - as it does not contain aromatic fumes that give users a ‘high'.
Australian Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert, says the Bill is a crucial development in curbing the harm caused by petrol sniffing.
'The voluntary rollout of non-sniffable fuel has been an important strategy, but is one that has had a big hole in it,' said Senator Siewert. 'This Bill helps resolve that issue and ensures the rollout can be completed.
'This Bill is a mechanism for the Minister to be able to help those communities that have worked so hard, for so long, to eradicate petrol sniffing and to envision a better future for their children.'
Although the Greens have stated that the only difference between Opal and regular unleaded fuel is the smell, there have been some concerns from local petrol stations owners regarding the progression of the Bill. They claim that their customers have expressed negative views on the use of low aromatic fuel.
Heather Goldsworthy, from Aryvale Station near Alice Springs, previously told the Australian Associated Press: 'Of course we'd stock it [Opal fuel], but no one would buy it...it will sit there, I'm not sure if it goes rotten. The tourists don't want it because it wrecks their motor cars.'
Despite concerns, the passing of the Bill means that the Government is committed to address low aromatic fuel roll-out in the regions within NT, WA, SA, and Qld by mid year 2013. The Low Aromatic Fuel Bill will now move to the House of Representatives.
Rachel Siewert's office
Mobile: 0418 401 180