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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Government considers possibility of Opal fuel in Katherine

Date posted: 13 March 2012

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon says that the Government would consider a roll-out of Opal fuel in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory.

This statement comes after increasing concern over the amount of petrol sniffing occurring in Katherine. Lisa Mumbin, community president of Kalano, located 250km south of Darwin, says more people from remote areas are coming to the town because they find it easier to access petrol. It is believed that about 40 people, including children as young as 12 years, are now sniffing petrol on a regular basis in the town. Ms Mumbin says action needs to be taken to combat the problem, and that a forward step would be to introduce low aromatic Opal fuel into Katherine and the surrounding areas.

People in the the community of Yirrkala have also been reported to be dealing with a petrol sniffing outbreak. Around 30 people in the community, south of Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land, are using volatile substances. Senior Sergeant Brendan Muldoon says community members have been attempting to patrol the streets at night to find sniffers and get them to go home.

Federal Opposition's Indigenous Affairs spokesman Senator Nigel Scullion says there will come a time to legislate in places like these remote Katherine towns, in order to prevent the sale of fuel that can be used as an inhalant, and ensure that the only access is to Opal fuel.

Source: ABC News


Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon
Suite M1-49
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: (02) 6277 7820
Ph: (02) 6273 4140


Last updated: 13 March 2012
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