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Rollout of unleaded Opal fuel in Alice Springs.



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MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Health and Ageing

Tony Abbott MHR 11 September 2006 ABB128/06

Rollout of unleaded Opal fuel in Alice Springs

Opal fuel will replace unleaded fuel in most petrol stations in Alice Springs by the end of this week as part of the Commonwealth Government’s campaign to curb the epidemic of petrol sniffing in Indigenous communities.

It is expected that subsidised fuel in Alice Springs will cost about $4 million a year. This will fund the replacement of all regular unleaded petrol in Alice Springs with Opal fuel. In total, the Government has committed more than $52 million to 2009-10 to the roll out of Opal fuel.

By supplying petrol bowsers in Alice with non-sniffable fuel, sniffers will be deterred from travelling into Alice Springs. Cutting out supply will make it much harder for sniffers to get access to petrol.

Retail outlets that sell premium unleaded fuel at present will continue to do so for those vehicles that are designed to use only premium fuel. Service stations that sell premium fuel have been encouraged to ensure appropriate security for their premium bowsers.

Unleaded Opal fuel performance is equivalent to that of regular unleaded petrol and it complies with Australian fuel standards. It can be mixed with the other fuel in a petrol tank without affecting the engine.

Already, a total of 62 indigenous communities are using Opal and 24 roadhouses and service stations are now supplying Opal unleaded fuel. Preliminary reports suggest that Opal is having a positive effect in reducing petrol sniffing cases to a very low level.

Opal fuel is a product of collaboration between BP and the Commonwealth Government to devise a non-sniffable petrol.

Further information on unleaded Opal fuel is at: www.bp.com/au.

Media Contact: Claire Kimball, 0413 486 926