$1.8 million allocated to improve access for regional learner drivers

  • ​Six projects across the Kimberley and Pilbara share in $1.8 million of funding through Driving Access and Equity pilot program
  • First round of grants awarded, with second round now under consideration 
  • Program to improve access to driver’s licence and job opportunities in regional WA
  • Key outcome from McGowan Government’s 2021 Skills Summit
  • Hundreds of learner drivers in the Kimberley and Pilbara will benefit after six projects were awarded a share in $1.8 million of grants from the Driving Access and Equity pilot program.

    Three programs in the Kimberley received almost $1.17 million, while three Pilbara recipients will share in $711,000.

    The funding will increase the number of qualified driving instructors and supervisors in the Kimberley and Pilbara, increase access to safe vehicles, and provide culturally appropriate education and mentoring to help people gain their driver’s licence.

    The Kimberley and Pilbara regions were identified for the first funding round of the Driving Access and Equity pilot program as they have a higher concentration of disadvantaged learner drivers due to remoteness and limited access to licensed vehicles and driving supervisors.

    The second round of grants for organisations in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, worth a further $1.9 million, have now closed and are being assessed.

    The program was established last year following the McGowan Government’s Skills Summit where lack of access to driving services, instructors and eligible vehicles was highlighted as a key barrier for youth employment in regional areas.

    As well as grants, the program has doubled the number of officers employed to deliver driver and vehicle licensing services to remote Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid-West communities from five to 10, with all of those officers now working.

    The additional officers will allow the Department of Transport to visit more remote communities and increase the volume of visits to communities they already service, as well as increase the level of services and driver education provided while in communities.

    In 2020-21, the Remote Services team undertook 168 visits to 63 remote communities. Work is also underway with Aboriginal translation services to provide bespoke publications for the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, which will assist people where English is not their first language or literacy is a barrier to obtaining their learner’s permit or driver’s licence.

    As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “We know learner drivers in regional and remote areas, particularly those in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, can face significant barriers when learning to drive – I saw this first hand last July when I visited Halls Creek.

    “Having access to a driver’s licence in our regional communities is essential for employment, training and education opportunities, as well as accessing essential services.

    “Through our Driving Access and Equity pilot program we are investing in projects run by local organisations that understand the local challenges faced by learner drivers and provide local solutions.

    “More than $1.8 million in grants have been awarded to projects that will increase the number of qualified driving instructors and supervisors in the Kimberley and Pilbara and purchase safe vehicles for learning and assessments.

    “I am so proud that in just over seven months we have established this pilot program, received funding and have already allocated more than $1.8 million that will go directly to services on the ground.”

    As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:

    “More than $711,000 has been allocated through the Driving Access and Equity pilot program to local Pilbara organisations.

    “This funding will help increase the number of qualified driving instructors and supervisors and provide five new licensed vehicles appropriate for learning to drive and assessments.

    “Having a driver’s licence not only opens the door to opportunities for jobs and training, but also fosters independence and allows better access to essential services and being able to visit family and friends, which is so important.”

    As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:

    “We know there are a number of barriers learner drivers in the Kimberley face when trying to get their driver’s licence.

    “I am so proud that more than $1.7 million has been allocated towards organisations and programs in the Kimberley to find local solutions to overcome barriers for young people gaining their driver’s licence.

    “The Driving Access and Equity pilot program will result in at least 15 new driving instructors as well as purchasing up to six new vehicles.”

    Successful grant applications


    OrganisationRegionProject locationProject nameApproved funding
    Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation Kimberley  Broome Nirrumbuk driver training and licensing program$172,265
    Wunan Foundation IncKimberley  Kununurra

    Halls Creek


    Balgo Mission


    Driving change project for east Kimberley$773,000
    Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation Kimberley  Derby Winun Ngari driver program $224,000
    Total $1,169,265 ​ ​ ​ ​


    OrganisationRegionProject locationProject nameApproved funding
    Bloodwood Tree Association IncPilbara Port Hedland

    South Hedland

    Tom Price


    Marble Bar

    Enhanced driver training and education for the east Pilbara $428,083
    Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation (NBAC) (Red Dirt Driving Academy)Pilbara Roebourne



    Teaching our community to be safe responsible drivers $141,258
    Robe River Kuruma Aboriginal CorporationPilbara Roebourne



    Pilbara RYDE program – expansion initiative $141,788
    Total $711,129 ​ ​ ​ ​

    /Public Release. View in full here.