- McGowan Government delivering initiatives through Driving Access and Equity pilot program
- Department of Transport licensing service teams in Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid-West to be doubled
- First round of grants for organisations in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions now open and eligible organisations invited to apply
- Key outcome from McGowan Government's Skills Summit from earlier this year
Work is underway to deliver the first set of initiatives through the McGowan Government's Driving Access and Equity pilot program.
The program was established earlier this 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, in particular the North-West and Kimberley.
Funding will be distributed through a grants program that will provide localised solutions for localised problems to help people become safe, employable drivers with the first round now open for invited businesses and organisations with eligible programs in the Pilbara and Kimberley.
The Kimberley and Pilbara regions have been identified to access the first funding round as they have a higher concentration of disadvantaged learner drivers due to remoteness and lack of access to licensed vehicles and driving supervisors.
The program has also meant the number of officers employed to deliver driver and vehicle licensing services to remote Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid-West communities will be doubled from five to 10.
The Department of Transport's Remote Services program provides driver and vehicle licensing services, including theory and practical assessments, to remote communities in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Goldfields-Esperance, Mid-West and Gascoyne regions who would otherwise be unable to access services.
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 across the State.
It is anticipated the new Remote Services officers will be ready to commence services early in the new year.
Consultation also identified the need for culturally appropriate publications.
The Department of Transport will work with Aboriginal translation services to provide bespoke publications for the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
In addition, the Department of Transport intends to increase current agreements in place with providers who live and work in local communities to provide oral or paper-based theory tests for learners.
These measures 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.
For more information visit www.transport.wa.gov.au/accessequityprogram
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"We know one of the biggest barriers to employment and training for young people in the regions is not being able to access the services required to gain a driver's licence.
"Through the Driving Access and Equity pilot program, we are aiming to provide localised solutions to local communities - whether that is ensuring access to qualified instructors, properly licensed vehicles or licensing services.
"Doubling the remote driver and vehicle licensing teams in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid-West is a vital first step to help more people obtain and maintain their driver's licence and give them the best chance to get a job.
"We have also just opened the first grant round for Pilbara and Kimberley organisations and invited eligible organisations to apply for a grant.
"With $4.5 billion committed for major road projects and programs throughout regional WA over the next four years, demand for licensed workers in the regions is only going to increase."
Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:
"We know that a driver's licence makes it much easier to find and maintain a job.
"This is a fantastic initiative and I encourage local Pilbara organisations to submit an application if they've been invited to apply."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"We have a number of major road projects underway across the Kimberley that offer employment and training opportunities.
"Often a key part of this work involves having a driver's licence. This program will make it easier for residents in remote communities to access the services they need to gain and maintain their licence."
Minister's office - 6552 5500