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The Federal Government needs to start using its power to introduce Opal fuel to some outback petrol stations, the Central Australian Youth Link-Up (CAYLUS) Service has said.
The Government, almost a year ago, gained the power to force some service stations to replace unleaded fuel with Opal to cut petrol sniffing.
CAYLUS spokesman, Blair McFarland, said those powers were yet to be used, due to changes in government following the federal election. 'In Central Australia, it means there are still petrol stations, which have always refused to go onto Opal, that are still selling sniffable fuel in places where there are Indigenous communities nearby,' Mr McFarland said. 'Consequently around those places there are ongoing low levels of sniffing that keep turning up.'
It follows the release of an interim report, done by the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), showing petrol sniffing has declined in some remote communities, but is still a problem in parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The Menzies analysed the impact of Opal fuel in 41 indigenous communities. Of the 41 communities included, 15 had data from previous surveys that could be used to compare with later figures. In these 15 communities, the total number of sniffers went from 546 in 2005-07, down to 97 in 2011-12.
However report author Peter d'Abbs says the decline isn't across the board, and more needs to be done in parts of the West and the Territory, where high rates of sniffing persist. 'What we're seeing now is continuing petrol sniffing at problematic levels in a number of areas where Opal is not available or where it is available but so is unleaded petrol,' he said. 'So what we're seeing now is the challenge of how to get this problem of getting petrol sniffing down.'
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation