Mobility is a basic human need, and transport (walking, driving, travelling as a passenger), is the way that it is achieved. The starting point for this project was the proposition that safe and sufficient transport should be accessible to everyone. Lack of safety can be a consequence of insufficient or inadequate transport. For example, given a need to travel - for work, education, medical services, family or cultural reasons, or recreation - and limited transport options, a person might travel in an unsafe way rather than not travel. The study themes and approach were informed by a series of forums held in 2005, 2006 and 2007, involving representatives of Aboriginal organisations and officers of government agencies. Consultations with focus groups and personal interviews were conducted, and case studies recorded, in several Aboriginal communities.
This project resulted in numerous actions aimed at improving the safety or sufficiency of transport for Aboriginal people in SA. For example:
- The establishment of an informal forum of representatives from agencies and organisations from a diverse range of areas.
- The National Indigenous Working Group (auspiced by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau) formed a taskforce to review, update and redistribute Aboriginal road safety material.
- The SA Thinker in Residence, Professor Ilona Kickbush, recommending to the SA Premier and Cabinet that driver education and licensing be added to the State Strategic Plan as a key strategy to improve mobility, to establish identity, and to give improved employment and life opportunities for Aboriginal people.
- The project has led directly to a South Australian Government initiative to improve and expand the options for Aboriginal people who wish to gain their driver’s licences. Drawing on recommendations contained in the final report as well as from the SA Thinkers in Residence program and government departments, State Cabinet has approved a program to implement the new licensing initiatives, with preliminary work set to commence in the second half of 2010.
Implications of findings for policy and practice
The availability of safe and sufficient transport has diverse implications for safety, health and welfare. Recommended actions in the project report include:
- Improving access to driver licensing education in different learning styles, and increased availability of driver training and driving supervision, to overcome barriers to obtaining a driver's licence.
- A long-term initiative on seat restraint education, promoting user behaviour, and improving access to and use of infant and child car restraints.
- Establishing a regional passenger service to regularly run from Yalata and other outlying communities to Ceduna.
- Development of a joint program between road safety, drug and alcohol, and licensing agencies to reduce the likelihood of drink/drug driving.
- Helps, Y., Moodie, D. & Warman, G. 2010, Aboriginal People Travelling Well: Community Report PDF [2.5 MB], The Lowitja Institute, Melbourne.
- Helps, Y. L. M., Moller, J., Kowanko, I., Harrison, J. E., O'Donnell, K. & de Crespigny, C. 2008 Aboriginal People Travelling Well: Issues of Safety, Transport and Health, Road Safety Grant Report No. 2008–01, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Canberra.
- Fact Sheet: Addressing Transport Needs of Aboriginal People PDF [419 KB] (2008).
- Helps, Y. & Moller, J. 2007, Aboriginal People Travelling Well Literature Review: Driver Licensing Issues, Seat Restraint Non-compliance, Aboriginal Health, Aboriginal Disability PDF [402 KB], Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Canberra.
- Indigenous Road Safety: an Indigenous Health InfoNet web resource and yarning place to promote the road safety of Indigenous people across Australia.