The Department of Transport provides strategic transport planning, regulatory and customer services to ensure safe, efficient and sustainable transport systems to meet community needs and support Government’s goals for the economic and social development of the Northern Territory.
DriveSafe NT Remote is an initiative of the Department of Transport to assist Indigenous people in remote and regional areas to obtain a drivers licence, contributing to Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage through expected road safety, employment and reduced incarceration outcomes.
Indigenous people are overrepresented in Northern Territory road fatality statistics and around one in three fatalities involve an unlicensed driver. Multiple barriers to licensing include costs, lack of access to services, language barriers, fear of police and difficulty in obtaining ID documents.
DriveSafe NT Remote is free of charge and covers the cost of a birth certificate if required, a learner license, theory classes, driving lessons and provides culturally-appropriate training and instruction on a wide range of driver related topics such as drink driving, speed, seat belts and a culture of non-licensing, to help overcomes these barriers.
Clare Gardiner-Barnes, Chief Executive of the Department of Transport said, “Awareness of road safety issues such as drink driving, wearing of seatbelts, overcrowding vehicles and speeding has been enhanced through the program, bringing benefits across the community. We are immensely proud of the success of the program to date and hope to see continued positive outcomes in years to come.”
The trial initially targeted 280 Indigenous Australians in remote communities. To date 1,300 learner licences have been awarded with other benefits reported such as a road safety, sense of personal achievement and greater mobility.
The program gas led to the Department of Transport being recognised as an ABA100 Winner in the Australian Business Awards for Innovation 2014.
“To be recognised through a national awards program such as this, is a credit to the staff who have worked across the program to deliver a product that is innovative and making a real difference in Territory communities, ” said Gardiner-Barnes.