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CAYLUS has operated Since November 2002.



CAYLUS has operated Since November 2002.


CAYLUS is a division of Tangentyere Council and takes direction from a steering committee made up from representatives of the following agencies and communities:

The CAYLUS Service area spans communities across the bottom half of the Northern Territory. CAYLUS only works in communities at the request of local people and agencies, over the 10 years that we have operated we have gradually extended our services to new sites. While CAYLUS primarily services this region we have occasionally provided provided assistance to communities further away, including Balgo, Kiwirrkurra and Jigalong in WA and Katherine in the NT.

A map of the CAYLUS Service Area.

CAYLUS supported initiatives have included developing rehabilitation services, youth programs, a responsible retail of solvents program, night patrols, policing initiatives, football carnivals and video and radio projects in local languages. Whilst many supply-reduction measures specifically targeted inhalants, the demand-reduction measures such as development of community-based recreation and youth programs have had a myriad of other health, substance misuse prevention and community safety outcomes.

For an in depth look at the CAYLUS model and approach check out Gillian Shaw’s paper The Provision of Support and Advocacy for Indigenous Young People on a Regional Basis

Skateboarding at Lake Nash


CAYLUS commenced operation during a period when petrol sniffing was an enormous issue across much of Central Australia. At this time availability of reliable youth programs in our service region was also limited.   CAYLUS staff initially promoted use of aviation gas as an alternative fuel that was less intoxicating if sniffed, along with developing youth programs and promoting the use of the Misuse of Drugs Act (NT) to prevent deliberate dealing and supply of fuel and other substances to sniff.

CAYLUS staff worked closely with families to facilitate access to rehabilitation programs and worked with these services to varying degrees to help develop their programs and services. This approach builta more systematic response to sniffing and helped reduce the damage that was being done, it didn't however greatly reduce prevalence of sniffing in many communities as standard unleaded was still readily available.

As CAYLUS has supported remote communities efforts to make high-risk substances harder to access for sniffing, we have also needed to work with retailers in the regional centre Alice Springs to ensure that such products are well managed there also. The CAYLUS Volatile Substances Supply Reduction worker works supporting retailers in Alice Springs to manage products well, as a part of this work we developed a range of resources for retailers but importantly have been available and responsive to retailers needs including providing practical assistance where we can. More recently we have been supporting the development of similar projects in other locations as a part of this work a guide to volatile substances supply reduction work has been developed.

In 2004/05 CAYLUS staff worked with other stakeholders to advocate to the NT government for a range of measures including better data collection, better policing around petrol sniffing and better rehabilitation options. This resulted in the introduction of the NT Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act 2005 and a complementary investment in support programs by the NT government. One of the most useful outcomes of this legislation has been that it gives communities the ability to make laws around the management of volatile substances. Some communities used these powers to make possession of standard unleaded petrol illegal altogether within their bounds, thereby making petrol dealing far more difficult.

With the advent of Opal/ Low Aromatic Fuel in 2005, it became feasible for the first time to implement a non-intoxicating fuel across the region. CAYLUS staff worked with communities promotingand supporting the use of the fuel. As a part of the Opal Alliance we also advocated for a change in Commonwealth government policy, first to allow roadhouses to use the fuel and eventually to a region wide rollout in Central Australia. For a full account of this process see CAYLUS and the Opal Alliance - by Blair McFarland.

Lance McDonald, indigenous resident of Papunya, Central Australia, talks about how Opal Fuel prevented petrol-sniffing in his community.

The regional roll out of Opal has been a major success, the 2009 Evaluation of the Impact of Opal Fuel found that across all sites there has been a 70% reduction in prevalence of petrol sniffing and that in Central Australia this has been in excess of 90%. It has been very gratifying to be able to see the change on the ground in communities as a result. See the video from Papunya below to hear an account from that community.  Our advocacy work in this area continues though, as a small number of retail outlets refuse to stock the fuel despite the likely benefit to nearby communities. CAYLUS staff continue to work toward rolling youth programs out to all communities in order to engage youth who were previously sniffing in positive activities and programs.  There is currently no Government commitment that ensures such services are available to remote NT Youth, though with initiatives such as theFaHCSIA Youth in Communities Measure the situation has improved. For further information on the case of Youth Services see the 2011 CAYLUS discussion paper Youth Development In Central Australia Beyond 2012.

CAYLUS operates with funding from the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government, The Anangu Communities Foundation and contributions from a range of institutional and private donors


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Donating to CAYLUS

In remote communities in Central Australia many young people grow up living with the impacts of substance misuse.

Donating to CAYLUS

In remote communities in Central Australia many young people grow up living with the impacts of substance misuse.

Chronic levels of Petrol Sniffing, Alcohol and ganja use by young people themselves and their families lead to long term health effects as well as a range of problems for young people and their communities.

You can help change this situation.


 Why we are collecting funds

We need to ensure that young people and their communities have access to appropriate supports and opportunities in order break with entrenched patterns of substance misuse.

 We need to ensure remote community stakeholders are listened to by government and service agencies and that policy responses are built on local knowledge and ideas.


 How your gift will be used

 Funds will be used to meet the needs that governments wont fund in the region, these include:

 advocacy work: taking the voice of remote community stakeholders to policy and program makers. So often major government programs miss the mark or worse add to the problems experienced by young people and families in remote communities. CAYLUS engages in the policy debate through submissions to inquiries, circulation of discussion papers, through commissioning independent research and through building relationships with decision makers. We place an emphasis on putting remote community stakeholders and frontline workers directly in contact with decision makers so that these people know the reality of the programs and policies that they implement.

building youth diversion programs: CAYLUS works with partner agencies to place youth development workers in locations of high risk. While rehab, counseling and education all play a role in reducing the detrimental effects of substance misuse, CAYLUS views prevention as the key to real change. A youth diversion program during a high-risk period such as the school holidays or during a petrol sniffing outbreak can make all the difference in keeping substance misuse from spreading. Your funds will help us sponsor short-term strategic programs and work with stakeholders to source and organise long term funding.  

 supporting the development of remote computer rooms: Local computer rooms increasingly play a critical role in remote communities where many people do not otherwise have access to computers and the internet. Computer rooms are popular amongst young people in the high-risk 12-25 age bracket and provide a safe supervised environment in which to engage in new and stimulating activities. Computer rooms are used by all ages for practical things such as internet banking, communicating with family in other locations and online purchase of goods that are not available in expensive local stores. Computer rooms provide access to new learning, literacy and skills. In a growing number of communities, school attendance is being linked to computer room access thereby providing a powerful incentive for young people to attend school. Your gift will help us work with remote communities to source and install the necessary equipment, to establish internet access and where possible set the rooms up along a user pays model so that running costs can be sustained. 

 getting retailers to use Opal fuel: Opal Low Aromatic Fuel is not intoxicating if sniffed. It has proven a very effective tool in reducing prevalence of sniffing in our region. Unfortunately a handful of retailers refuse to see all reason and will not stock the fuel, and in some sites this is linked to sniffing in nearby communities. Your funds will support our work with affected communities, retailers groups and federal and state governments pushing for a change in these sites.


How far will your donation go?

 $50 will pay for a for two weeks internet costs for a remote community computer room

 $100 will pay for us to reach 12000 people via social media, getting the message out to the public about Opal fuel and building pressure on retailers and government

 $200 will pay for the costs of sourcing a volunteer mentor to work running a school holiday program for one week

 $1000 will pay for the costs of taking a community leader to Canberra to meet with the policy makers direct

 If you would like your donation to support the Papunya Computer Room Project please mention this in the "special messages" section of the next page.




Contact Us

Name *

08 8951 4236

4 Elder Street 
Alice Springs,
NT 0870 

Fax: 08 8952 8521

Mailing Address:
PO Box 8070 
Alice Springs,
NT 0871


Copyright © 2012-2015, Central Australian Youth Link Up Service. All rights reserved.