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This website contains names and images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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In 2005 a voluntary Commonwealth-subsidised scheme began replacing regular unleaded petrol (RULP) with Opal, a newly developed less intoxicating low aromatic fuel (LAF), at 41 sites. Inquiries by the Standing Committee on Community Affairs in 2006 and 2009 found huge reductions in petrol sniffing in regions where LAF had been rolled out. The inquiries made recommendations to address outbreaks in communities where retailers were unwilling to stock LAF.

In a third inquiry, the Community Affairs Legislation Committee examined a private senators’ bill, the Low Aromatic Fuel Bill 2012, which sought to combat this issue by banning RULP and mandating the use of LAF in certain designated areas. The committee consulted with affected communities, noted concerns with the proposed legislation in its report and made recommendations to improve it. These recommendations were addressed and the bill was amended and passed into law.

By 2015 LAF was available at 138 sites. Independent research by the Menzies School of Health Research has found that petrol sniffing rates in 17 remote Indigenous communities dropped by almost 90 per cent in the decade after LAF was introduced.

Senator Rachel Siewert introduced the Low Aromatic Fuel Bill 2012 and served on the committee inquiry into it.

During her second reading debate speech of 22 November 2012, Siewert said: ‘We were pleased to see the proper process of consultation and committee inquiry work here—the idea being that, when you bring a bill to the Senate, it goes off to inquiry, you get feedback and you make amendments in response to that feedback.’


Standing Committee on Community Affairs, Grasping the opportunity of Opal: Assessing the impact of the Petrol Sniffing Strategy, March 2009, p. xiv.

Sign advising of volatile substance restrictions in the Alpurrurlam (Lake Nash) community in the Northern Territory.

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Video (duration 07:35), BP Australia, 7 March 2012

Video (duration (01:00), Music video for community anti-substance abuse campaign, 5 June 2009

Video (duration 03:30), Music video for community anti-substance abuse campaign, 3 February 2012