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New petrol sniffing diversion funding welcomed.

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Tuesday 20 February 2001

New Petrol Sniffing Diversion Funding Welcomed

Senator Grant Tambling, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Northern Territory Senator, today welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of a commitment of up to $1 million over three years for an early intervention and prevention project aimed at young petrol sniffers and those at risk of petrol sniffing in the Northern Territory.

The funding comes from $2.7 million made available by the Commonwealth under the Tough On Drugs Diversion Initiative.

The Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard MP, made the announcement in Darwin today, pledging an immediate $150,000 to establish a pilot project in the Top End of the NT. The project is aimed at diverting primarily young, experimental petrol sniffers and those at risk of being caught up in this dangerous practice into a community-supported early intervention and prevention program.

“The funding will be used to establish a team of appropriately skilled people with experience in community consultation and needs assessment, and for establishing service delivery models in Aboriginal communities,” Senator Tambling said.

“The team will work collaboratively with Aboriginal communities to strengthen their capacity to deal with this issue, and to assist in the development of a local community action plan to address petrol sniffing. The pilot will work across agencies and sectors including health, law enforcement education and youth affairs.”

Senator Tambling said that while petrol sniffing and inhalant use was not widespread in all Indigenous communities, where it occurred children and young people were at risk and communities needed support to help divert young people away from this harmful practice.

“A number of projects aimed at addressing petrol sniffing are currently underway in central Australian Aboriginal communities through the National Illicit Drug Strategy and the Commonwealth’s Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health,” Senator Tambling said.

 “These initiatives and relevant research on inhalant use recognise that prevention, early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation may require different approaches depending on the substances involved and the extent and severity of the problem.

“There is no single approach that is appropriate for all Aboriginal communities so this pilot project in the Top End will give us a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t in Northern Territory communities.

 “Subject to satisfactory evaluation of the Top End pilot after 12 months, the petrol sniffing diversion project could be rolled out progressively within Aboriginal communities in the NT where petrol sniffing and inhalant use is occurring.”


Media contact: Melissa Baldwin at Senator Tambling’s office - 08 8981 3567