Communities throughout the Mid-North Coast are getting $270,000 to promote safe driving in the region from the NSW government’s new Community Safety Fund
Oxley MP, Melinda Pavey and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams announced the investment in programs running in Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Bowraville and the Nambucca Valley.
Guy James from the Bunyah Aboriginal Land Council said it was sensational. “Access to transport in Wauchope is next to nothing. Young fellas and girls getting a job need to get a licence and keep it, and there is huge demand for this.”
Ms Pavey said the NSW Government programs will work to increase road safety and prevent unlicensed driving.
Lin Duncan from the Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre said they’re very excited to be able to keep running their program.
“People who can drive can access jobs, education, training and health services. A lot of indigenous people end up in the justice system because they’re not able to get a licence. We need volunteer mentors,” she added.
Mrs Williams said driving offences, including driving unlicensed, is a significant problem in the young Indigenous population.
“This program directly targets the issue through education and practical assistance to divert those most at risk from entering the criminal justice system.” she said.
Chris Sheed from Taree Indigenous Development and Employment was also at the announcement in Wauchope. He said they have a constant stream of people coming through the door to get trained.
“We have volunteer drivers who help them get their hours up, and we arrange lessons for them as well. We hope to provide the services in Port Macquarie, Forster and Taree,” he said.