Blair McFarland

Founder, Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service

2024 NT Australian of the Year

Blair McFarland has spent decades fighting to improve the health and lives of some of the most disadvantaged youth in Australia.  

Blair moved to Central Australia in 1986, and over the next two decades he gained a deep understanding of the lives of Indigenous people in the region. The petrol-sniffing epidemic of the 90s caused him to set up Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service (CAYLUS) in 2002. 

CAYLUS was instrumental in developing youth programs, orchestrating the roll-out of Low Aromatic Fuel (LAF, or Opal) and implementing the Federal Low Aromatic Fuel Act. The combination of these activities resulted in a 95 per cent reduction in volatile substance misuse. 

Blair’s passion and commitment to Central Australia is reflected in his participation in politics, advocacy, local radio and community services.  

In 2008, he received the Prime Minister's Award for Outstanding Contribution in Drug & Alcohol Endeavours by the Australian National Council on Drugs.