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New driver training partnership provides stepping stone to work or study


Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the NSW regional towns of Wagga Wagga and Nowra will be helped to get their P1 licence thanks to a partnership between Australian Red Cross and the NRMA.

Thursday September 21, 2017

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Australian Red Cross volunteer David helps out as a driving mentor, helping young people like Blake get their licence. CREDIT: Australian Red Cross/Dilini Perera
Australian Red Cross volunteer David helps out as a driving mentor, helping young people like Blake get their licence. CREDIT: Australian Red Cross/Dilini Perera
With a drivers licence, these young people can apply for and start jobs knowing they have the means to get to an interview or to a job site

The NRMA, NSW and the ACT's peak motoring body, has announced it is working with Australian Red Cross to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from regional communities gain their P1 drivers licence.  

NRMA's two-year commitment of more than $500,000 will enable 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants to earn their P1 licence and be supported to engage in study or employment across the Shoalhaven region and at Wagga Wagga.  

"With a drivers licence, these young people can apply for and start jobs knowing they have the means to get to an interview or to a job site," Australian Red Cross regional manager John Pocius, of Wagga Wagga, said.  

"For many young people in our region, we know there's no one to give them the driver training they need to earn their licence," he said.  

"Our volunteer drivers are locals who also provide a positive role model for young people and share their knowledge, connection to and experience of the local area. This contact can be extremely motivating for our participants."  

NRMA Regional Director Fiona Simson said the program reflected the organisation's commitment to supporting Indigenous communities as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan and aligned with the NRMA's priorities of ensuring transport access for all and supporting the sustainability of regional communities.  

A driver's licence is a life-changing tool that helps unlock social and economic opportunities for drivers, their family and their communities," Ms Simson said.  

"This is particularly the case for Indigenous communities, who we know face additional barriers in gaining a drivers licence, which is why we sponsor and deliver programs across the state to support driver training for Aboriginal people.  

"Ensuring young people are equipped for the driving task is also key to delivering on the NRMA's commitment to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads."

Reconciliation Action at Australian Red Cross

Australian Red Cross' Reconciliation Action Plan sets out the practical and specific actions we play towards reconciliation in Australia