VSU-related laws in Australia
In addition to WA-specific laws related to volatile substance use (VSU), there are also some VSU-specific pieces of legislation elsewhere in Australia.
Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 (Cth)
Where the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is at risk from petrol sniffing and fuel retailers do not convert to selling low aromatic fuel, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs has powers under the Low Aromatic Fuel Act 2013 to prohibit supply and sale of regular unleaded petrol. To date, the Act has been used to designate three locations (Katherine and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and Palm Island in Queensland) as low aromatic fuel (LAF) areas to mitigate the negative impacts of petrol sniffing and help reduce the potential harm to the health of people in those locations.
When an area is designated as a LAF area, Section 8 of the Act makes it an offence for a Corporation to:
- supply regular unleaded petrol to a person in a low aromatic fuel area
- transport regular unleaded petrol to supply to a person in a low aromatic fuel area
- possess regular unleaded petrol to supply to a person in a low aromatic fuel area.
Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act 2006 (NT)
The Northern Territory (NT) Government introduced the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention (VSAP) Act in 2006 to assist in the prevention, early intervention and treatment of VSU in the NT. The Act has since been reviewed and the amended Act was proclaimed in 2010.
The VSAP Act gives NT police the power to seize inhalants, apprehend those under the influence and take them to a safe place. It gives courts the capacity to order compulsory treatment and gives community members and shire councils the ability to apply for a 'Community Management Area' within which the possession, supply and use of volatile substances is not permitted.
While most states have legislation covering many of the same provisions as the VSAP Act, the NT is the only state that has specific provisions for mandatory treatment for persons deemed to be at risk of severe harm from VSU; and a provision for creating 'community management areas' relating to the possession, supply and use of volatile substances. For more information, see VSAP Act factsheet.
For VSU-related laws in Western Australia, see the Western Australian law page of this website.