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New program across NSW is unlocking doors for young Aboriginal people

Driving Change, a new community-led program to tackle barriers to driver licensing, was launched today in Griffith, NSW. The program will provide extra support to help young Aboriginal people in the Griffith area to overcome barriers to obtaining a driver licence, in an initiative to enhance opportunities for access to employment, education and health services.

Driving Change is a unique program to address a complex community issue. It will fund positions for local Driver Licensing Champions, create mentoring opportunities and provide links to existing services and information.

Youth Worker and Griffiths’ appointed Driver Licensing Champion, Maydina Penrith, said she expects the initiative will make a big difference locally.

“When young people hit licensing complications it can be very overwhelming. I've already witnessed that those seeking assistance through the program are confident that I can help them through the process, where before it seemed too much to take on by themselves,” said Ms Penrith.

“The main reason I got involved in Driving Change is because it’s based on a best practice approach. I believe that with the program’s flexibility and quality structure, we have the ability to create a lot of change in people's lives.”

Jake Byrne, Driving Change Project Officer, The George Institute and The University of Sydney, said low rates of licensing had a sustained negative impact on the community.

“If you have limited means to get to work, uni or TAFE or other health and support services, it’s much harder to make the most of opportunities available,” said Mr Byrne.

“Driving Change is a community-led program that helps break through the barriers that some young Aboriginal people have to getting a licence, such as access to identification documents, limited availability to supervising drivers or cars, and prohibitive lesson costs.”

The program is also being launching in Shellharbour and Redfern in the coming week, and at several other locations around NSW within the next few months.

Driving Change is a George Institute initiative, funded by the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme and the Transport for NSW with the Centre for Road Safety.

Visit the Driving Change website for more information.