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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 113

Mr Abbott asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, in writing, on 10 November 2008:

(1)   Since November 2007, what communities have introduced Opal petrol.

(2)   In total, how many communities provide Opal petrol and what are their names.

(3)   When will Opal petrol be available in the Kimberley region and at the four central Australian roadhouses on the Stuart highway.

Ms Roxon (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Between 1 November 2007 and 1 November 2008, an additional 15 sites have commenced supplying Opal fuel. This includes 12 communities and 3 roadhouses/service stations.

(2)   As at 1 November 2008 there are 119 sites supplying Opal fuel. This includes 84 communities, 32 roadhouses / service stations and 3 pastoral properties. To maintain the privacy of individual communities, the Department of Health and Ageing (DHA) does not release the names of communities receiving Opal fuel.

(3)   Three communities in the south and one community in the north of the East Kimberley region are already receiving Opal fuel. The comprehensive rollout of Opal fuel to the East Kimberley region has been delayed as a result of commercial supply chain and fuel distribution issues. These issues arise because Opal fuel is currently only stored and distributed from Largs North, South Australia. To overcome these issues, DHA is working to identify a more efficient and accessible option for Opal fuel distribution in northern Australia. There are eight roadhouses not including Alice Springs located on the Stuart Highway in the designated Petrol Sniffing Strategy zones that support the Australian Government’s efforts to reduce petrol sniffing by supplying Opal fuel. A small number of fuel retailers in Central Australia have opted not to supply Opal fuel despite DHA’s efforts to address their concerns. The Australian Government continues to consult with relevant stakeholders to progress the introduction of Opal fuel to these locations.