Publication Details

K. Clapham, K. Hunter, P. Cullen, Y. Helps, T. Senserrick, J. Byrne, J. E. Harrison & R. Q. Ivers, "Addressing the barriers to driver licensing for Aboriginal people in New South Wales and South Australia", Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 41 3 (2017) 280-286.


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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