24 November 2016
Borroloola babies will be able to buckle up more easily from today with the launch of a new road safety service in the Gulf region.
Buckle Up Borroloola offers child restraints fitted to local vehicles for just $20.
The program is a joint initiative of the NT Motor Accidents Compensation Commission (MACC), McArthur River Mine (MRM) and Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Indigenous Corporation, with support from Kidsafe NT and Northern Territory Police.
Research in Borroloola earlier this year revealed up to 65 per cent of children under seven were travelling in vehicles without proper child restraints. This is despite it being a legal requirement to use an approved child restraint for all children up to seven years old.
Reasons for non-compliance include vehicle overcrowding, cost and availability of restraints, lack of qualified fitters and apathy. Another issue is that children often travel in cars owned by friends or relatives who do not have child restraints fitted.
Buckle Up Borroloola overcomes the issues of cost, access and lack of qualified fitters. Anyone who regularly carries children under seven in their car is able to have an approved child restraint installed by an accredited fitter for just $20 at a Mabunji office.
MAC Commissioner Jim Colvin said only 8 per cent of Indigenous children killed or seriously injured in car accidents over the past 10 years were wearing seatbelts or child restraints compared with 40 per cent of non-Indigenous children.
“There is clearly an issue in Indigenous communities that we have to change,” he said.
“Buckle Up Borroloola is an important pilot program. If we can show that this can work in one community we have a model that other communities can follow.
“It’s been great to get the support of McArthur River Mine and Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Centre. Without them this program would not happen.”
McArthur River Mine General Manager Sam Strohmayr said MRM was committed to programs to support the local community.
“Through our Community Benefits Trust we have supported 76 programs with $12.3 million over the past nine years. We’re proud to be able to support this important road safety initiative,” he said.
Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Indigenous Corporation chairperson Annie Roberts said keeping kids safe was an important goal for Mabunji.
“It’s great to see such strong support from the program partners to keeping our kids safe,” she said.
Newly trained fitters from Mabunji fit the first child restraint following the launch with McArthur River Mine's Ryan Pascoe.
There is strong support in the community for the program.
Representatives from MACC, McArthur River Mine, Mabunji, Kidsafe and NT Police at the launch.
Listen to the radio advertisement made by students at Borroloola School.
About MACC: The Motor Accidents Compensation Commission manages the Motor Accident Compensation Fund, which is funded through compulsory third party insurance premiums paid when registering motor vehicles in the Northern Territory. It is committed to reducing the human, community and financial costs of road accident trauma through road safety initiatives. For more information visit www.ntmacc.com.au
About MRM: McArthur River Mine is located in the Northern Territory approximately 970km southeast from Darwin and 60km southwest of its closest township, Borroloola. MRM mines one of the world’s largest zinc and lead deposits. Established as an underground operation in 1995, MRM converted to open pit mining in 2006. MRM produces zinc and lead in concentrates, which are primarily exported through Bing Bong loading facility on the southern coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The current mine life extends to 2036. For more information, visit www.mcarthurrivermine.com.au
About Mabunji: Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Indigenous Corporation was established in 1982 as a resource centre to service Aboriginal people and their homelands of the Borroloola region. The not-for-profit Aboriginal organisation serves Aboriginal communities and outstations, including 22 Traditional Homelands and four Town Camps in the Gulf Region of Australia's Northern Territory.