Subjects: Keys2Drive funding, Sam Dastyari.
Australia’s motoring clubs are very pleased to see the keys2drive program extended today. A hundred Australians die in car crashes every month and another hundred are seriously injured every day, so we very much welcome the leadership that Minister Chester and the Government have shown to commit funding to an issue which is so important to so many Australian families.
From a AAA perspective, there’s nothing as important than giving young Australians a good start and teaching them good habits when they’re driving, and it’s also incredibly important that their parents and their supervisors also get given good habits, and that’s why this program is so important. Because it’s a program that recognises that being a good parent doesn’t make you a good driving instructor. Keys2drive is something we have been administering now for nearly 10 years. We very much look forward to the opportunity to continue to do so for another four years and we hope that it benefits the Australian community through safer roads and safer kids.
Thanks, Michael, and it’s great to be here with the AAA, and also with Aislin Jones, who is an ambassador for the keys2drive program. Too many people are killed and injured on Australia’s roads every year, and we recognise that at least part of the answer is better training for younger drivers. The keys2drive program has been very successful in giving tens of thousands of Australian young people an opportunity to receive a lesson with their parent or guardian to make sure they’re learning good habits when they first get behind the wheel. Since the implementation of the graduated licencing system around Australia, we have seen more than a 40 per cent reduction in the number of young people killed on our roads. We know that investing money in these early stages of a young driver’s development is very important to making sure they are safe when they get out there on the roads on their P plates.
It is particularly good to be here with Aislin Jones. Aislin is Australia’s youngest ever Olympic shooter. She knows, through her sport, the critical importance of focus and concentration and not being distracted, and as a young driver, as someone who’s on her L plates right now, Aislin’s already done in the order of 170 hours behind the wheel, and she is very keen to see further investment in younger people learning the skills they need to be safe on the roads. Can I also say that the $16 million investment in the keys2drive program will mean that tens of thousands of more young people, particularly in regional areas, will have the chance to learn better driving habits as they begin their driving careers.
Can you tell us about how important it is getting a lesson when you are learning to drive?
Yeah. It’s really important as a learner driver, I think, because after two years on our Ls, we suddenly go to having to drive on our own and making our own decisions and calls for ourselves. I think it’s really important to get the right experience and knowledge as a learner driver so that we can make good calls and decisions while we are out on the roads by ourselves. As a P plater, we go straight to being at the highest risk for being in an accident. So we actually go from being the safest drivers on the road, to the people who are at highest risk, and I think it’s really important for all L-platers out there to get the right lessons so that they can be the safest that they can be on the roads.
So people your age – do you think it would be handy for them to check out the website and have a look at seeing if they can get into one of these driving schools?
Yeah, definitely. The keys2drive program and how it allows people to get a free lesson as an L-plater makes it a lot easier for both parents and young individuals like myself to get access to the experience that they need to be a safe driver on the road.
Young drivers are still overrepresented in statistics for accidents and injuries. Do you think young drivers get enough training under the current system?
Right across Australia, we have different systems in different jurisdictions. I’d like to see a consistent approach, a harmonisation of the Graduated Licensing System to make sure that all young drivers get equal opportunity to have the skills they need to go on and become safer drivers into the future, and keys2drive is part of that, but there is no question that investing in safer drivers at a young age can form some good lifelong habits which will help reduce road trauma. I might invite Derek also, from Panache Driving School, to say a few words.
We have been delivering the keys2drive program since 2010 and we’ve found it really beneficial to open up the communication pathways with learners and their supervisors to help the supervisors teach their kids the best practices on how to learn, and also it’s a good way to give them a refresher course on the road rules they might have forgotten so they’re not passing on their bad habits to their students. We find it really beneficial that we open that door of communication, and they keep on coming back to us after the initial lesson and still asking, you know, what am I doing right, what am I doing wrong, and it just helps the learner become a much safer driver in a shorter period of time as well, without making mistakes to start with.
Does Senator Dastyari have to go now, do you think? Is his position untenable?
Well, I’m surprised that Senator Sam Dastyari is still in the Senate. He has made some fundamental errors of judgement which are unbecoming to the position he holds. He should resign. Any reasonable, thinking person would have that view and I’m surprised that the Labor Party is hanging onto him.
Well, if he doesn’t resign, should Mr Shorten sack him?
Bill Shorten has shown an appalling lack of judgement in not sacking Sam Dastyari already. The fact he’s still in the Senate is a blight on the Labor Party and it’s a blight on the Australian Senate.