Progress on Indigenous Road Safety Forum September 2004

Recommended actions: advice from the Indigenous Road Safety Working Group

Note: More details on initiatives to improve indigenous road safety will be available before the end of 2005 at the HealthInfoNet indigenous road safety website and in the updated report on Australian Indigenous Road Safety by the ARRB Group.

1. Provide information on forum outcomes to key stakeholders and place information on the website of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

  • A summary of the forum proceedings and the list of recommended actions are accessible at the Road Safety website under a dedicated section for indigenous road safety matters.
  • The discussion paper on improving national data on indigenous road trauma prepared by the ATSB for the 2004 forum was posted on the website and comments publicly invited.
  • An article about the 2004 forum has been submitted to the Local Government Focus, a monthly publication distributed to all local governments in Australia. The article appeared in the September 2005 edition of the "National Perspective". This is a quarterly supplement of the Focus publication and includes articles of interest on Australian Government initiatives.
  • A CD record of proceedings from the forum has been produced which includes an audio recording of the presentations, the powerpoint presentations, and photographs and the list of recommended actions from the forum. Copies of the CDs were provided to forum attendees, to the Internet clearing house consultants and to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) for distribution to their 130 Aboriginal Medical Services.

2. Submit a paper to the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT) recommending that Ministers of the Australian Transport Council (ATC) be informed of forum outcomes.

The ATSB reported on the 2004 forum outcomes to the October 2004 meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport (comprising heads of transport agencies) and to Ministers of the Australian Transport Council at their meeting in November 2004.

3. Examine the feasibility of collecting improved and nationally consistent data on indigenous road trauma.

Based on a discussion paper it produced for the 2004 forum, the ATSB has produced a draft strategy paper for discussion at the May 2005 teleconference. The paper includes recommendations for improving national data. At a teleconference of the Indigenous Road Safety Working Group on 26 May, it was agreed that the ATSB would arrange a meeting of a task group to progress the recommendations in the ATSB strategy paper. The task group includes members from the transport jurisdictions of NSW, QLD, Victoria, ATSB and Nicole Jones from the Department of Health and Ageing.

4. Implement changes and monitor progress in the following key areas: improved data collection; increased licensing; increased seat belt wearing, including child restraints; reduction in road trauma involving alcohol; improved infrastructure at high risk locations; and decrease in pedestrian risk.

The Indigenous Road Safety Working Group agreed at a teleconference on 26 May 2005 to monitor progress in these areas in two ways:

  1. Continue to compile a record of initiatives and changes across Australia; and
  2. Develop some baseline measures, ideally quantifiable data. The ATSB is to examine existing resources, e.g. the draft updated ARRB Group report and WA's new Aboriginal Road Safety Stakeholder Implementation Manual, and draft some suggestions on developing baseline data for consideration by the Working Group.

The following are examples of some initiatives underway that address the key action areas.

South Australia: The key areas listed above are included in the draft SA Aboriginal Road Safety Strategy. The Strategy is being developed by the State Aboriginal Road Safety Taskforce in consultation with Aboriginal organisations. A draft strategy is to be submitted to the State Transport Minister for approval for release for wider consultation.

Western Australia: The Office of Road Safety has released in April 2005 the Aboriginal Road Safety Stakeholder Implementation Manual. The Manual provides a guide to current issues in Aboriginal road safety and includes suggestions for community projects. It is aimed at road safety practitioners and community development workers.

The WA Office is also developing the Open Load Space Project. Riding in the open load space of utility trucks will become illegal on 1 January 2006 in Western Australia. Recognising that this is a particular issue for Aboriginal groups, the Office has dedicated funding to an education campaign on this issue. Advertising should air on television and radio during November to December 2005.

Improved data collection:

Queensland Transport (QT): Racial appearance is determined subjectively in the opinion of the reporting police officer and is recorded as "Aboriginal or Islander" appearance. This category has been recorded since 2000 for both vehicle controllers and casualties involved. QT is aware that Indigenous people are not always accurately or consistently identified in collections due to variations in definitions, different data collection methods and failure to record Indigenous status.

Increased licensing:

Western Australia: The Office of Road Safety has been developing a licensing project, Warburton Graduated Driver Training and Licensing Pilot. The pilot project aims to develop an Indigenous-focused, culturally-appropriate graduated driver training and licensing project at Warburton. If successful, the pilot will be used in other remote and regional communities.

Queensland Transport

  • Current resource development work being carried out (Standard Australian English) is the 3 Steps to licensing project (further information provided below).
  • Work is planned in the areas of:
    • Evidence of identity
    • Renewing a driver licence that is due for renewal or has expired
    • Developing appropriate ‘easy to understand’ documents for remote community persons

Increased seat belt wearing

Queensland Transport

  • A QT seat belt public education campaign commenced in November 2004 and included a new television commercial and publicity statewide. Indigenous communities were not specifically targeted as part of this campaign.
  • Western Cape All Age Driver Education Program and interactive CD Driving our Future.

Reduction in road trauma involving alcohol

Queensland Transport: Moving On Program, Western Cape All Age Driver Education Program and interactive CD Driving our Future (details on these programs are provided elsewhere in this summary).

Improved infrastructure at high risk locations

Queensland Transport: Currently the Queensland government allocates $13 million per year to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councils through the Main Roads Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS). This is an ongoing commitment towards the improvement of access roads and local town streets in indigenous communities. Safety is a primary consideration in all project selection.

Decrease in pedestrian risk

Queensland Transport

  • Development of interactive CD Driving our Future (addresses possible dangers related to intoxicated and non-intoxicated pedestrians).
  • Road safety officers in the Gulf region are working with communities to increase awareness of road safety issues, including drink walking.
  • QT is also working collaboratively with QH on their Healthier Universities Program.

5. Recognise the need to involve local communities when developing programs that target indigenous road safety.

The following are reports are examples provided by transport agencies of road safety initiatives that involve local communities.

Western Australia: The Warburton licensing project is based on community involvement and on developing community capacity (such as the ability to administer licensing in Warburton.

South Australia: see comments under recommended action no.4 about development of a SA Aboriginal Road Safety Strategy.

Queensland Transport

  • The Safe4life Drivers Licensing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland project has provided the opportunity to develop a best practice model which can be offered to other Indigenous rehabilitation programs in Queensland.
  • The Moving On program is a licensing partnership initiative between Queensland Transport and the Aboriginal and Islanders Alcohol Relief Service in Cairns. It aims to engage people who are being diverted from incarceration and charged with offences involving drink driving or substance misuse. The Moving On program will be the first time an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential rehabilitation program will have a licensing education program attached to service delivery.
  • The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is operating an Indigenous Licensing Program that is delivered to remote communities. Queensland Transport is actively supporting QPS's mobile licensing activity. The program is the primary model to be used within the northern region to provide licensing services to remote communities and is delivered in partnership with community elders and leaders.
  • Mr Norm Clarke, from the Queensland Fire Services conducts a program to provide licensing theory training and on-site learners' licence testing to Indigenous residents in various urban settings in Brisbane with high Indigenous populations. The program is delivered in partnership with the Inala Elders and the material is designed in a culturally-appropriate manner with the endorsement of the Inala elders.
  • Queensland Transport has been developing working partnerships and relationships with the Napranum and other Western Cape communities for some time through an initiative to improve road safety - the Western Cape All Age Driver Education Program. The initiative aims to increase levels of licensed drivers in the community and therefore to decrease the levels of Indigenous incarceration for licensing offences. Communities have identified this driver training as a high priority.
  • The Low Literacy Learners Licence Training Project commenced in 1996 when the QT Road Safety (South West Region) were asked by Cherbourg and Cunnamulla communities to help local Indigenous people who had been unable to pass the written learner's licence test. In response, QT, in partnership with community members and interested agencies, developed several resources designed to increase comprehension of the licensing questions.
  • Independent Video Productions (IVP) has produced with community participants an interactive CD Driving our Future that was developed to educate on particular issues for example, getting a driver's license. IVP conduct workshops in communities. In the workshops participants are asked to identify possible dangers related to drink driving and also for intoxicated and non-intoxicated pedestrians and other community road safety issues.

New South Wales: The Roads and Traffic Authority is developing regional Aboriginal action plans for road safety with measurable outcomes. The aim is to give regions responsibility for delivering programs. Programs operate under a funder/service provider model where the corporate area sets policy direction, defines problems and suggests countermeasures. With this guidance, regions are asked to develop proposals for delivering appropriate programs, including bids for funding.

The 26 May 2005 teleconference of the Working Group agreed that monitoring progress under this recommendation would be through the sharing of best practice case studies. The full detail of case studies would be accessible in the updated ARRB group report and regularly updated through the Indigenous road safety clearing house project currently being developed by Edith Cowan University under the HealthInfoNet website.

6. Explore how links can be developed with other areas such as health and Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs).

Examples of initiatives which address this recommendation was provided by Working Group members:

Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing: The Department arranged a national symposium on 2 December 2004 to seek input from various health and safety stakeholders, including the ATSB, to the development of a draft National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Safety Promotion Strategy.

Western Australia: The Aboriginal Road Safety Stakeholder Implementation Manual is being provided to all regional and metropolitan ICCs as part of an attempt to raise the profile of Indigenous road safety.

South Australia: State Aboriginal Road Safety Taskforce membership includes representatives from Aboriginal health and ICCs. The Taskforce's role is to consider and provide advice on road safety issues affecting Aboriginal people in South Australia.

Queensland Transport: The Northern QT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network includes a number of community based health and wellbeing service providers. However, further work to strengthen relationships with health providers and with the newly established ICCs is necessary to secure support to the delivery of sustainable road safety outcomes for Indigenous populations. QT agrees that this is an area that needs further development.

New South Wales: The Roads and Traffic Authority launched in May an affordable restraint hire program in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service in Western Sydney (which has the highest concentration of Aboriginal people in NSW).

7. Explore the availability of indigenous community language resources and make efforts to share these resources.

South Australia: Pitjantjatjara pamphlets on child restraints available on the Department of Transport and Urban Planning website. A link to the pamphlets will be provided in National Clearinghouse project. Western Australia has requested permission to translate pamphlets into community languages.

Queensland Transport

  • QT is aware that the use of a familiar language (Aboriginal or Torres Strait languages and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Creoles) will increase engagement outcomes and will consider this in all new resource development work, however present capacity allows only for resource development in Aboriginal English or Standard Australian English.
  • Current resource development work being carried out (Standard Australian English) is the 3 Steps to licensing project. Material that currently exists on the QT website is being designed further to develop and secure ‘easy to understand’ information which will support people to obtain and maintain a learners or drivers licence. This resource aims to educate on the transitional processes for moving people through all elements of the licensing cycle.
  • Work is planned in the areas of:
    • Evidence of identity
    • Renewing a driver licence that is due for renewal or has expired
    • Developing appropriate ‘easy to understand’ documents for remote community persons
  • QT has an ongoing process of increasing awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages within QT as well as with external partners involved in resource development.
  • One of QT's key partners is the Indigenous Studies Product Development Unit (Department Employment and Training), Cairns, which writes and produces new training resources for communities. Their core business is product development and provision of expert advice on Vocational Education and Training for Indigenous peoples.

8. Support the development of the Internet information sharing project coordinated by Western Australia and, when finalised, widely advertise its availability.

Western Australia: The Public Health Unit at Edith Cowan University has been appointed by the Office of Road Safety to develop an Internet site on indigenous road safety. The director of the Public Health Unit, Professor Neil Thomson, has teleconferenced with the steering committee and has begun development of the template for the Internet site. The site will be a part of the existing Aboriginal Indigenous HealthInfoNet already run by the University. The Public Health Unit has also begun compiling information to be listed at the site. The final version of the clearing house is to be launched nationally on 2 December.

9. Consider the inclusion in black spot programmes of specific funding to improve indigenous road safety.

Following advice from Commonwealth, State and Territory black spot program managers, jurisdictions are of the view that the existing arrangements for the identification, treatment and funding of blackspot programmes provide funding opportunities to improve indigenous road safety (provided applications meet the programme criteria). However, there may be some scope for exploring how assistance could be provided to indigenous communities in making successful applications for the safety audit portion of blackspot funding.

10. Examine possibilities for updating some information in the report Australian Indigenous Road Safety prepared by ARRB Transport Research Ltd.

The ATSB has commissioned ARRB Transport Research Ltd to conduct an update of this report. A draft of the updated report received in June 2005 was sent to members of the Working Group for comment. The final version should be released before the end of 2005 and is to be available on the ATSB website.

11. Monitor progress on the above actions at twice-yearly teleconferences of the Indigenous Road Safety Working Group and at the next Indigenous Road Safety Forum.

The Working Group met in teleconference on 26 May and 4 November 2005.


Last Updated: 9 July, 2014