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2022 senior Australian of the year calls for first aid training for learner drivers

Val Dempsey in greens in front of St John Media Wall

The experienced nurse wants to see learner drivers become the nation’s next generation of mobile life savers by making first-aid a compulsory part of gaining a driver’s licence.

The first people on the scene of an accident are usually fellow road users. I would like to see a time when all bystanders have the first aid training, competence and confidence to put those skills to use in those vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

I have dedicated my life to assisting others in need and equip them with skills and confidence to be able to help others and deal with an emergency. As a nation, we can rethink our approach to those critical minutes between life and death at the scene of an accident and make community members part of the solution.

As ACT Senior of the Year, I see it as my duty to raise awareness of issues that are close to my heart and promote solutions to make our community an even safer place to be.

St John Ambulance Australia endorses Val’s call for new drivers to undertake first-aid training as part of their driving test. Newly appointed National CEO, Brendan Maher notes that the draft National Road Safety Strategy for the next decade aims for a 30 per cent decrease in death and trauma through safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe driver behaviour. “The strategy cannot overlook the need for a rapid and confident post-crash response from bystanders.”

The Australian of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of inspirational people who go above and beyond for their communities. The 2022 Awards will be presented in Canberra by the Prime Minister on January 25 and broadcast on ABC TV from 7.30pm (AEDT).

For further information and interviews please contact:

Val Dempsey ACT Senior Australian of the Year 0409 966 923 Brendan Maher CEO St John Ambulance Australia 0408 496 537 Adrian Watts CEO St John Ambulance ACT 0423 020 220