Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting people to tackle substance misuse

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP
    Minister for Indigenous Health
    Member for Lingiari

The Australian Government is investing more than $1 million to deliver 13 projects to help people tackle substance misuse in remote communities across Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the funding would deliver much needed projects, including youth activities, health promotion resources and prevention and education activities.

These projects will complement the use of low aromatic fuel in these areas.

“Petrol sniffing and alcohol and drug misuse continues to devastate the lives of too many Indigenous people and their families,” Ms Macklin said.

“It can lead to family and health problems and make it harder to hold down a job or get children to school.

“Having healthy and positive activities available to keep young Indigenous people engaged is vital, particularly in remote communities.

“We have worked directly with local organisations and the community to identify projects that will help tackle substance misuse, particularly among young people.”

This investment is part of the Australian Government’s Petrol Sniffing Strategy.

The Petrol Sniffing Strategy is a whole-of-government initiative, which aims to reduce the incidence and impact of petrol sniffing and substance misuse among Indigenous people in remote communities. More than $213 million has been invested in the Strategy since 2005.

The Government today released an evaluation of the Petrol Sniffing Strategy, showing the success of the multidisciplinary approach the Government has implemented to reduce the impact of petrol sniffing.

“The evaluation reports that a dramatic reduction in petrol sniffing has been achieved by the Petrol Sniffing Strategy primarily through the roll out of low aromatic fuel and the introduction of additional youth services.” Ms Macklin said.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said that there are 129 sites at present supplying low aromatic fuel throughout Australia with planning underway to expand the rollout to at least 39 new sites across northern Australia in the latter half of 2013.

“This evaluation demonstrates that the rollout of low aromatic fuel continues to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of young Indigenous people and their communities.”

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations, including continuing the Petrol Sniffing Strategy, engaging further agencies to achieve its goals and restructuring the strategy to focus on five key elements.

The evaluation is currently being considered by the Australian Government and will inform future work and priorities under the Petrol Sniffing Strategy.

It is available at:

Thirteen projects funded under the Petrol Sniffing Strategy in 2013:

  • $72,300 to fund youth diversionary activities in Warburton and Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia.
  • $125,220 to deliver prevention and education activities in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.
  • $130,000 to engage young people at risk in traditional cultural activities in the East Kimberley, Western Australia.
  • $130,000 to develop a Retailer and Community Capacity Building Strategy for Mount Isa and other remote communities in the Gulf region, Queensland.
  • $80,000 to deliver youth diversionary activities in Mount Isa, Queensland.
  • $140,000 to develop a supply reduction training kit for youth workers in Cairns, Queensland.
  • $20,000 to deliver two health promotion resources in Napranum, Queensland.
  • $15,000 to BushMob to provide a five-day camp for young people in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
  • $75,000 to coordinate the delivery of the AFL’s programs across the APY Lands in South Australia.
  • $60,000 to deliver a multi-media program for young people in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
  • $60,000 to deliver diversionary and prevention activities in Yalata, South Australia.
  • $40,000 to deliver diversionary and educational learning activities in Indulkana, South Australia.
  • $67,480 to support youth-driven demand reduction activities in the Cape region of Far North Queensland.