Above: Y drive learner driver Jamie Allen-Ward (behind the wheel,) with her mum Virginia Allen, Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, Y drive program mentor Jeff Halls, Member for Bega Andrew Constance, Y drive program coordinator Angie McMillan and Eurobodalla Councillor Phil Constable.
A program that helps disadvantaged young people in the Eurobodalla Shire get their driver licence has been awarded $125,000 by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government, Member for Bega Andrew Constance and Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today.
“Gaining a driver licence is life changing for people doing it tough, increasing their independence and improving access to education and jobs,” Mr Constance said.
The Y Drive program assists Indigenous, homeless and other disadvantaged young people on the far south coast to attain the 120 hours of supervised driving experience needed to sit the test for P-Plates.
Mr Constance said the program has been hugely popular since it began last year and there is currently a waiting list to participate.
“The NSW Government’s investment in Y Drive secures the future of the program for another 18 months, which is a major win for our community.”
Eurobodalla Shire Mayor, Liz Innes said she was proud to be associated with the life-changing program.
“Having a driver license opens up opportunities for work and study and gives young people independence.”
“Council’s youth team has done an amazing job developing Y Drive and now we can shift it up a gear with this fantastic funding from the NSW Government.”
Mr Speakman said he was pleased to be supporting a community-driven initiative to make NSW roads safer and reduce the cycle of disadvantage.
“If a young person doesn’t have a licence and can’t access public transport, they might take risks or break the law to get to their destination,” Mr Speakman said.
“We don’t want to see inexperienced youth driving unsupervised and ending up with a criminal record or becoming a road toll statistic.”
Recent research by the NSW Police Force showed 22 per cent of licence offences within the Eurobodalla Shire were committed by people aged 16 to 25, with young people who never held a licence accounting for around 14 per cent of the offences.
The NSW Government is providing Eurobodalla Shire Council with funding for Y Drive under the Community Safety Fund program, which will deliver $10 million in community grants over four years.