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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 
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About this web resource

The need for better information and resources

The impact of road injury - in terms of mortality, morbidity and social and economic consequences - is much greater among Indigenous people than other Australians [1]. The factors contributing to the much greater impact of road injuries among Indigenous people than among non-Indigenous people are very complex, and the promotion of road safety needs to go well beyond the identification of proximate factors (such as the use, or not, of seat belts).

The greater impact of road injuries among Indigenous people and the complex contributory factors have resulted in increasing attention having been directed at road injury among Indigenous peoples - at both strategic and program levels - since at least the early 1990s. This has resulted in a series of national meetings involving mainly representatives from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth. These meetings, which have provided a forum for the sharing of information about road safety initiatives for Indigenous people, have also enabled consideration of general strategies.

These meetings have been accompanied by the development of a number of specific road safety projects. The geographic spread of these projects is not uniform however, and 16 of the 25 projects identified by a major national review were located in Western Australia [2]. Importantly, there is no systematic sharing of information about these projects - between jurisdictions and often between sectors within a single jurisdiction.

Indigenous road safety initiatives involve a variety of sectors (including transport, police, health, and local government agencies), as well as Indigenous organisations, communities and individuals. A national review of injury prevention and safety promotion activities among Indigenous peoples [3] noted that these activities 'will not be successfully implemented or planned by one sector' and that they need to 'link to many sectors and divisions across national, State/Territory and local government'.

The linkage of the many sectors and divisions requires much better sharing of information and knowledge than has been achieved to date. The national review of injury prevention and safety promotion among Indigenous peoples recommended that 'a comprehensive strategy be developed to facilitate the generation, systematic collection and dissemination of knowledge about programs, projects and activities that can enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage' of safety promotion. This resource will contribute to such as strategy for Indigenous road safety.

Content of the Indigenous road safety web resource

The web resource includes a wide range of materials relevant to road safety among Indigenous peoples, including: reviews and background information; plain language information; policies and strategies; programs and projects; publications; and information about and links to relevant organisations and other agencies.

Sharing information about research and practice

The web resource also provides the capacity for people involved in the area to actively share their information and experiences. It does this through support of a yarning place (an electronic network) that encourages electronic yarning and networking among people working across Australia to address the impact of road injury among Indigenous peoples.

Development of the resource

The decision to proceed with development of a resource had been made in 2003 by the National Road Safety Strategy Panel, which recognised the need for better sharing of knowledge and information about Indigenous road safety - between jurisdictions and, often, between sectors within a single jurisdiction. It is expected that the systematic collection, generation, and dissemination of knowledge about relevant programs, projects and activities will enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of Indigenous road safety promotion.

The National Road Safety Strategy Action Plan for 2005 and 2006 includes the action to 'complete the development of an Internet-based clearinghouse to share effective Indigenous road safety initiatives among stakeholders and communities.' [4]

The development and maintenance of this resource on Indigenous road safety has been made possible with funds provided by the Roads and Transport Authority of New South Wales, Queensland Transport, the Western Australian Office of Road Safety, the South Australian Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure the Northern Territory Department of Planning and Infrastructure, VicRoads, the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Core funding for the HealthInfoNet is provided by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH). Other support is provided by Edith Cowan University.

Steering Committee

Development of the resource is being guided by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the agencies funding its development. The Committee, coordinated by the Western Australian Office of Road Safety, provides guidance on general and specific aspects of the knowledge resource, including reviewing draft content; facilitating access to the information collections of government agencies concerned with road safety and related aspects of Indigenous health and wellbeing; and advising on Indigenous road safety matters.

Drivers Group

Development of the resource is also assisted by a panel of Indigenous road safety experts, the Indigenous road safety 'drivers' group. This group comprises Indigenous and non-Indigenous people involved in: addressing issues related to the road safety of Indigenous peoples; and research into various aspects of the road safety of Indigenous peoples, including program evaluation. The drivers' group assists the HealthInfoNet and the Indigenous Road Safety Steering Committee in: ensuring the quality and completeness of the resource; raising awareness of the web resource and yarning place among people and organisations involved in the area of Indigenous road safety; and promoting use of the yarning place in the sharing of information and experiences among people involved in the area of Indigenous road safety.

References

  1. Thomson N, Krom I, Ride K (2009) Summary of road safety among Indigenous peoples. Retrieved from http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/related-issues/road-safety/reviews/our-review
  2. Macaulay J, Thomas R, Mabbot N, Styles T, Edmonston C, Sheehan M, Schonfeld C (2003) Australian Indigenous road safety: contract report. Vermont South, Victoria: ARRB Transport Research
  3. Moller J, Thomson N, Brooks J (2004) Injury prevention activity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Volume 1: Current status and future directions. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing
  4. Australian Transport Council (2004) National road safety action plan 2005 and 2006. Canberra: Australian Transport Safety Bureau
 
Last updated: 21 January 2010
 
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