Safer Drivers Course and Bike Safety Program are main features of the Plan
The NSW Government has launched its new Aboriginal Road Safety Action Plan 2014-2017, which provides more than $5 million in a package of practical measures to help reduce the road toll in Aboriginal communities.
The package was launched with the support of Aboriginal role models including Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin at the Adam Goodes Talent Camp, an initiative that mentors young Aboriginal boys in football, life and leadership.
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay said the Aboriginal Road Safety Action Plan delivers real ‘hands on’ measures to keep our Aboriginal communities safe on our roads.
“Aboriginal people are over-represented in driving offences and crashes, which involve speed, alcohol, fatigue, not wearing a seatbelt and incorrect use of child seats,” Mr Gay said.
“For the first time, the Centre for Road Safety has compiled data, which shows that between 2005 and 2011 an average of at least eight Aboriginal people died and an average of 214 were hospitalised each year in police reported crashes on NSW roads.
“It is critical we do all we can to bring down this number, that’s why the NSW Government is investing in providing tangible, hands on initiatives through our Aboriginal Road Safety Action Plan.
“Key elements of the Plan include $5 million to make roads leading into and within Aboriginal communities safer, funding to help more than 1,000 disadvantaged young people participate in a Safer Driver’s course and continued delivery of a bike safety program, which has already seen 3000 helmets distributed to Aboriginal children.
“Another critical issue in Aboriginal communities is proper fitment of child car seats. Sadly, children incorrectly secured in car seats are seven times more likely to receive life threatening injuries than children properly secured.
“Our Plan includes a $200,000 partnership between the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and Roads and Maritime Services, to distribute and fit child restraints.”
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello said the Plan is built on extensive research and consultation with representatives of Aboriginal communities.
“The Centre for Road Safety consulted widely to get the mix right and we believe our Action Plan will greatly help address the unique road safety issues faced by Aboriginal communities across NSW,” Mr Dominello said.
“It is so important to have the support of Aboriginal leaders like Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin to help promote our road safety message and what better way to launch the Action Plan than at the Adam Goodes Talent Camp.
“More than 70 indigenous boys between the ages of 11 and 16 are participating in the camp this weekend and getting the opportunity to play footy in a professional athletic environment as well as developing important life skills – including road safety awareness.
“These young men will soon be looking to get their licence and it is critical they are equipped with the right skills and knowledge before getting behind the wheel for the first time.
“We know some Aboriginal people find it hard to get into and stay in the system and our Action Plan is focused on turning this around by helping young drivers participate in programs like the Birrang Driver Licensing initiative, ACE ‘On the Road’ and the Driving Change Licensing Support Program.
“These driver licensing access programs have delivered significant benefits, with 160 learner and 169 Provisional P1 licenses obtained since we came into Government.
“Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime Services have also just released a tender to locate providers of Aboriginal driver licensing access services for the next three years, meaning we can continue offering these great services to more young drivers in the future.”