The Senate has passed the Greens' Low Aromatic Fuel Bill last night, which will make mandatory what has been a voluntary Opal Fuel roll out in parts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
By
staff, agencies

28 Nov 2012 - 12:58 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 10:48 AM

The Senate has passed the Greens' Low Aromatic Fuel Bill last night, which will make mandatory what has been a voluntary Opal Fuel roll out in parts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the Bill was a crucial development in curbing the harm caused by petrol sniffing.

“The voluntary rollout of non-sniffable fuel has been an important strategy, but is one that has had a big hole in it,” said Senator Siewert. “This Bill helps resolve that issue and ensures the rollout can be completed.

“This Bill is a mechanism for the Minister to be able to help those communities that have worked so hard, for so long, to eradicate petrol sniffing and to envision a better future for their children.”

Low aromatic fuel (also known as Opal fuel) is said to discourage petrol sniffing as it doesn't have the aromatic fumes that give users a 'high'. Under the new Bill, the supply of regular unleaded petrol will be replaced by non-sniffable Opal fuel in identified problem areas.

In the lead up to the decision, several petrol station owners expressed concerns about the mandatory roll-out of Opal fuel in remote parts of Australia. They claimed that motorists didn't want their cars running on low aromatic fuel.

Heather Goldsworthy, from Aryvale Station, near Alice Springs previously told AAP: "Of course we'd stock it, but no one would buy it ... it will sit there, I'm not sure if it goes rotten.

"The tourists don't want it because it wrecks their motor cars."

But the Greens say the only difference between Opal and regular unleaded fuel was the smell.

“It is important that this rollout is not hampered by baseless myths and fear mongering about non-sniffable fuel, all of which have been disproven,” Senator Siewert said. The Bill will now move to the House of Representatives.

There have been outbreaks of petrol sniffing in Central Australia. Currently, there are 123 petrol stations selling Opal fuel in remote parts of Australia but six retailers in the roll-out zone don't.

WATCH: SENATOR RACHEL SIEWERT ON THE OPAL FUEL BILL