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Petrol on the nose

LEGISLATION CHANGE: Motorists in Katherine and surrounding towns wanting 91 octane fuel can now only purchase low-aromatic varieties following changes to federal legislation on February 19.
Nanjing Night Net

SERVICE stations in Northern Territory towns including Katherine,Pine Creek and Mataranka will be slugged with fines of up to $54,000 for selling or possessingstandard 91 octane fuel following changes to federal legislation on February 19.

Indigenous Affairs Minister and NT senator Nigel Scullion said that he had used powers under the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 to enforce the change, which he described as a last-ditch effort to reduce the prevalence ofpetrol sniffing inKatherine and its surrounding regions.

The changesonly apply to corporations,and motorists will not be penalised for using standard 91 octane fuel.

Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service alcohol and other drugs co-ordinator Andy Blaney welcomed the announcement and said that, while Katherine had been fortunate to avoid major cases of petrol sniffing, it would reduce potential sources for would-be users.

“Every now and again, there will be something happening and we will hear about a couple of kids that have got a hold of some fuel and are sniffing,” he said.

“It does such horrible damage to kidsthat you don’t want any child doing it.”

The majority of service stations in Katherine already stocked low-aromatic fuel prior to Friday’schange and Mr Blaney said those who had held off could no longer avoid doing whatwas in the community’s best interests.

“I suppose it’s disappointing when the low-aromatic fuel becomes available and people chose not to use it,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s got to the point where the government needs to legislate it.”

Riverview Tourist Village customer service attendant Damon Alexander said, since the change, only one customerhadasked about the ban of standard 91 octane fuel.

He added thatthere should be no noticeable difference usinglow-aromatic fuel, but that motorists should check their vehicle’s specifications before filling up.

Katherine Times

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