BY JENAE MADDEN

Vulnerable youth across the Hunter, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region are being given a leg up as the NSW Government has announced a 20 million dollar expansion of the Driver Licensing Access Program.

According to Regional Transport Minister Paul Toole, access for these groups can be tough.

“It can be really tough to get access to a vehicle or find someone to supervise them while they build up the experience behind the wheel.”

The program will be offered in an expanded 72 regional and 15 metropolitan locations across the state aiming to prioritise indigenous and low socio-economic youth hindered by transport access.Since 2015, the program has seen more than 4500 young people gain their Ls, and more than 3000 graduate to their P-Plates, according to data from the Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor. 
The Driver Licensing Access Program offers practical support offered by volunteers to help young people navigate paperwork and offer driver knowledge to gain their Ls as well as supervision to clock up the 120 log book hours necessary to graduate to their provisional P Plate license. 

Taylor says by removing the transport barrier, regional youth across the state will have better access to jobs, education and health services. She says the results have also seen safer roads throughout regional Australia.

“With statistics showing unauthorised drivers are about twice as likely to be involved in a casualty crash and four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, getting people inside the licensing system significantly reduces these risks,”

“Helping people get their license is not only changing lives,” says Toole, “it’s helping save them.”

Eligibility will be based on a range of indicators from personal circumstance to licensing data, panel capacity and funding allocation. 

For more information and a list of all 72 regional centers visit the Service NSW website