Evaluation of the COMGAS Scheme

  • Research program: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Project status: Completed
  • Start date: July 2003
  • Expected end date: December 2003
  • Completion date: November 2010
  • Funded by: OATSIH via Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council
  • Lead organisation:

This project, led by the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) evaluated the ‘Comgas Scheme. The Scheme was a petrol sniffing reduction program administered by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. It financially assisted remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to substitute their supplies of unleaded petrol with an aviation fuel, Avgas, which is not attractive to sniffers. Our evaluation found that the Comgas Scheme was a safe, popular and effective strategy to reduce petrol sniffing in Australia and recommended that the Comgas Scheme be continued and promoted and expanded. These recommendations were accepted by the Minister for Health and remained in place for a short period until the introduction of low aromatic ‘Opal’ fuel in Central Australia in 2005.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
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Dr Annalee Stearne
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1630
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Project staff

Alcohol policy and strategies


  • Chief Investigator: Andrew Biven, Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA)
  • Co-investigator: Gillian Shaw, Independent consultant
  • Co-investigator: Anne Mosey, Independent consultant

Professor Dennis Gray
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1624
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This project aligns with the following Sustainable Development Goals and Targets:

Shaw, G., Biven, A., Gray, D., Mosey, A., Stearne, A. and Perry, J. (2004). An evaluation of the COMGAS Scheme: 'They sniffed it and they sniffed it – but it just wasn't there'. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra. ISBN: 0 642 82566 1 [M50] View web page Abstract