Driver Licences, Diversionary Programs and Transport Justice for First Nations Peoples in Australia


In Australia, one significant cause of the imprisonment and disadvantage of First Nations people relates to transport injustice. First Nations people face obstacles in becoming lawful road users, particularly in relation to acquiring driver licences, with driving unlicensed a common pathway into the criminal justice system. This paper identifies that while some programs focus on increasing driver licensing for First Nations people, there are significant limitations in terms of coverage and access. Further, very few diversionary or support programs proactively address the intersection between First Nations people’s driver licensing and the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, it is argued that scope does exist within some state and territory criminal justice programs to enhance transport justice by assisting First Nations people to secure driver licensing. This paper highlights the need for accessible, available and culturally safe driver licencing support programs in First Nations communities led by First Nations people.

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Published: 2023-09-01
Pages:93 to 107
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How to Cite
Masterton, G., Brady, M., Watson-Brown, N., Senserrick, T. and Tranter, K. (2023) “Driver Licences, Diversionary Programs and Transport Justice for First Nations Peoples in Australia”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 12(3), pp. 93-107. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2641.

Author Biographies

Queensland University of Technology

Gina Masterton is a former Solicitor and Barrister (Qld) with an LLB and Master of Laws (Research) from QUT and a PhD from Griffith University (Law School). Currently, I am an Indigenous Australian Post Doctoral Researcher with the Centre for Justice, School of Justice, QUT. My project investigates transport injustices for Indigenous women in rural and remote areas in Queensland.

Charles Darwin University

Mark is a Law and Technology expert at Charles Darwin University. Mark's research focuses on regulation for disruptive technologies, Artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous systems, drones, and vehicles, with an aim of establishing equitable mobility solutions within society. Mark is Co-coordinator for the NT IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) and a member of the North Australia Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS)."

Queensland University of Technology

Dr Natalie Watson-Brown is a Research Associate at the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who specialises in driver training, licensing systems, and young novice drivers.

The University of Western Australia; Queensland University of Technology

Professor Teresa Senserrick PhD is Director of the Western Australian Centre for Road Safety Research at The University of Western Australia and an Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology. She focuses on policy and practice relevant research in road safety, with specific expertise in education, training and driver licensing systems. Her particular interest is in addressing counterproductive outcomes of one-size-fits-all policies, especially for First Peoples and rural-remote communities.

Queensland University of Technology

Professor Kieran Tranter is Chair of Law, Technology and Future at the School of Law, QUT. I research how law and technology intertwine to structure human lives and futures. I have a particular interest in the technologies and laws that have been instrumental in the endurance of colonialism and the settler state.