Young indigenous Queenslanders at a number of Queensland high schools are set to get behind the wheel safely thanks to a partnership between the Palaszczuk Government and Former Origin Greats.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that $255,000 had been awarded to the Former Origin Greats’ ARTIE (Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education) Academy.
“This funding will enable the respected ARTIE Academy to conduct a program designed to help more Indigenous students gain their provisional driver’s licence, including at Bribie Island High School,” Mr Bailey said.
“It is offered to senior Indigenous students who successfully reach set academic targets, including school attendance, effort and behaviour in mathematics and English, and no school suspensions.
“I am confident this funding boost will help to motivate students to improve their education outcomes, as well as introducing employment opportunities enabled by having a driver’s licence.
“Tragically, young people continue to lose their lives and sustain serious injuries in road crashes across Queensland.
“Successful initiatives within our Community Road Safety Grant program support improved education on the critical importance of being safe and making good decisions when using the roads.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we are proud to stand behind organisations like ARTIE Academy as they drive positive road safety culture within their local communities.”
FOGs executive chairman Gene Miles said the program would be conducted at selected schools across Queensland.
“Our program not only teaches young Indigenous students how to drive safely, it encourages and motivates them attend school and do their best,” Mr Miles said.
“The funding we have received through the Community Road Safety Grants will go a long way to ensuring the students we support can gain their drivers’ licences in a way that ensures they will be responsible for the safety of themselves and others when they are behind the wheel.”
Mr Miles said the program would also be offered at included Bribie Island State High School (SHS), Beenleigh SHS, Marsden SHS, Morayfield SHS, Ayr SHS and Mareeba SHS.
Bribie Island State High School principal Ms Kerri Holzwart said:
“This program not only provides incentives for our Indigenous students to strive to achieve their best at school, it also provides the support for our young people to be able to secure their drivers licence and thus open up a range of employment opportunities that are far more difficult from our area if they don’t have a licence.
“It is all about supporting our young people to achieve their future goals and ambitions and to be as safe as possible on our roads.
“This is especially important for our Bribie students when they have to drive significant distances within their local area.”
Mr Bailey said grassroots programs like this played an important role on top of the $1 billion being invested in road dedicated road safety initiatives across Queensland, plus a $23 billion roads and transport program for better, safer transport.
Applications for road safety grants are considered and assessed by an independent panel including the RACQ, and Mr Bailey acknowledged the panel’s efforts in helping to promote road safety across the state.
The program builds on other school road safety program, including RACQ’s Docudrama Road Safety Program, which involves emergency service workers demonstrating a powerful ‘mock crash’ road safety scenario to year 11 and 12 students.