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Palm Island to ban regular petrol to combat sniffing

Petrol sniffing is rife among Indigenous youth in remote Aboriginal communities.

Petrol sniffing is rife among Indigenous youth in remote Aboriginal communities.

Canberra [AAP]

Regular unleaded fuel will no longer be available on Palm Island as part of efforts to combat petrol sniffing in indigenous communities.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has mandated the sale of low aromatic fuel, commercially sold as Opal, on the far north Queensland island.

It’s the first time that power has been exercised since laws, that carry fines of up to $54,000, cleared federal parliament.

Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey said low aromatic fuel had decreased sniffing rates.

But he said Mr Scullion’s decision limited his community’s power to choose and questioned whether it could stifle development.

He also said the town had “bigger fish to fry” than petrol sniffing and called on the government to start creating jobs and opportunities.

“Let’s talk about the development of our communities and the prospering of our communities,” he told AAP.

“Let us get on with our lives.”

Low Aromatic fuel has been available on Palm Island since last year.

The minister’s decision does not affect the sale of diesel fuel.


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