Addressing the barriers to driver licensing for Aboriginal people in New South Wales and South Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2017, 41 (3), pp. 280 - 286
Issue Date:
2017-06-01
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© 2017 The Authors Objective: Low rates of driver licensing have been linked to increased risk of transport-related injury, and reduced access to health services, employment and educational opportunities in the Aboriginal population. This paper reports on how barriers to obtaining a driver licence are being addressed in four Aboriginal communities in New South Wales and South Australia. Methods: Qualitative data were collected over a four-month period in 2013. Interviews with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders (n=31) and 11 focus groups with Aboriginal participants (n=46) were analysed thematically using a framework approach. Results: Factors facilitating licensing included: family support, professional lessons, alternative testing and programs that assist with literacy, fines management, financial assistance and access to a supervising driver. Stakeholders recommended raising awareness of existing services and funding community-based service provision to promote access to licensing. Discussion: Facilitating licence participation requires systemic change and long-term investment to ensure interagency collaboration, service use and sustainability of relevant programs, including job search agencies. Implications for public health: The disadvantage faced by Aboriginal people in driver licensing is a fundamental barrier to participation and a social determinant of health. Understanding the factors that promote licensing is crucial to improving access for under-serviced populations; recommendations provide pragmatic solutions to address licensing disadvantage.
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