Thursday, October 13, 2005

Coroner demands officials act on petrol sniffing

POLICY - AUSTRALIA

ABC News have recently been reporting upon a range of initiatives to address pertol sniffing in the Northern Territories. The following is an extract from one such article.

The Northern Territory coroner has called for governments around Australia to implement the recommendations of several coronial inquests into petrol sniffing deaths.

The coroner has handed down his findings into three petrol sniffing deaths in central Australia last year.

Coroner Greg Cavanagh said he could not disagree with the use of the word pathetic to describe government efforts to deal with petrol sniffing.

Mr Cavanagh called on the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments to immediately establish treatment and rehabilitation services for petrol sniffers in central Australia.

He said several coronial inquests had made the same recommendation since 1998 but the Territory Government had only recently started to act on the advice. He also recommended the Federal Government subsidise a full roll-out of non-sniffable Opal fuel throughout the central desert region.

Blair McFarland works with petrol sniffers for the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service.
He has welcomed the coroner's recommendations and says governments should not drag their heels implementing them.

"Everybody knows what to do and it's been done occasionally in patches," he said.
"We know what to do and we know what works, so it's just a matter of trying to make sure that the resources are there to keep it happening."