Review of the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is undertaking a review of the operation of the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013.

The Act was established to enable special measures to be taken to reduce the potential harm caused by petrol sniffing. The Act promotes the supply of low aromatic fuel and controls the supply of other fuels, such as regular unleaded fuel. It has been used in four locations, covering Palm Island in Queensland, and the Daly, Katherine and Tennant Creek regions of the Northern Territory.

The Department invited individuals and organisations to provide comments on the operation of the Act in accordance with the Terms of Reference outlined below. The review submission period closed on 18 May 2018. The review is expected to be finalised by the end of 2018. A report into the review’s findings will be provided to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, who will table a copy of the report in both houses of Parliament within 15 sitting days of it being provided.

Further information about the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 and areas where it has been used can be found below the Terms of Reference.

Terms of Reference

The review will take account of the following issues:

  • The effectiveness of the Act in meeting its primary object: “to enable special measures to be taken to reduce potential harm to the health of people, including Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders, living in certain areas from sniffing fuel”.
  • The effectiveness of the areas designated under the Act: Palm Island in Queensland, and the Tennant Creek, Daly and Katherine regions of the Northern Territory.
  • The views of fuel manufacturers, outlets and their fuel distributors operating in the designated areas as well as other stakeholders, including community representatives, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (or their representatives), persons with an interest in or knowledge of human health, and any other individuals who have an interest in the use of low aromatic fuel.
  • The other provisions of the Act as they relate to achieving the object of the Act, such as the ability for the Minister to designate ‘fuel control areas’ and the Act’s compliance measures in places where it has been used.
  • Any other matter with a significant bearing on the operation of the Act that is identified during the process of the review.

What does the Act do?

The Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 allows the Minister for Indigenous Affairs to designate low aromatic fuel areas and fuel control areas where this will likely reduce potential harm to the health of people, including Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders. In making this decision, the Minister must have regard to the views and wellbeing of Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders living in the area.

The Explanatory Memorandum can be found here.

Where have designations been made?

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs has used powers available under the Act to designate the following regions as ‘low aromatic fuel areas’:

  • Palm Island, Queensland (since 27 November 2015)
  • Barkly (Tennant Creek) region, Northern Territory (17 February 2016)
  • Daly region, Northern Territory (since 19 February 2016), and
  • Katherine region, Northern Territory (since 19 February 2016).

These areas cover 27 fuel outlets and eight fuel distributors. It is now illegal to supply or sell regular unleaded fuel in Tennant Creek, the Threeways Roadhouse, Adelaide River, Mary River, Hayes Creek, Pine Creek, Katherine, Tindal (the RAAF base), the Nitmuluk Visitor Centre, Mataranka, and on Palm Island.

More information on each of the designated areas, including links to maps of the areas, is available.

Submissions to the Review

To support the review, the Department consulted with and invited submissions on the operation of the Act from stakeholders, including fuel outlets and distributors, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (or their representatives), community representatives, health service providers, police, youth services, and other individuals who have an interest in the use of low aromatic fuel.

If you have any queries please email lowaromaticfuel@pmc.gov.au

 

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