A successful Murri driving school on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is struggling to attract secure funding.
Source:
NITV News
20 Feb 2014 - 5:31 PM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2015 - 3:54 PM

Since 2012, Murri's on the Move has been helping young and old students gain a driver's licence on the Sunshine Coast.

The driving school started as a pilot program when students leaving school couldn't find employment without a car.

"On the Sunshine Coast it's very difficult with public transport, doesn't meet the needs of a lot of people and especially our mob," said founder of Murris on the Move, Jason Carr.

"We were finding that the students applying for jobs, one of those barriers were they were getting knocked back because they didn’t have a provisional licence,” he said.

Mr Carr formerly worked for the federal government's ‘Learn Earn Legend’ employment program but started Murris on the Move with just one driving instructor, Kerry Turner.

Ms Turner is the director and only driving instructor for Murri's on the Move and says too many young Aborigines are driving around unlicensed.

“One of those barriers that we found that our youth are experiencing is getting caught up in the youth justice system. So even though they can drive, they're driving unlicensed, which means that they get pulled over, they get a fine again and so it's just another way of them having to pay off their fines," she said.

"But they need to drive their car to get family to doctors’ appointments or community networking groups or to school or to work, and so it goes around and around, so it's a huge barrier.”

Murri's on the Move became a registered not-for-profit organisation in December last year.

The program attracted widespread support from government, non-government agencies and Murri organisations, but is now struggling to maintain funding and eradicate bad driving habits in the community.

“We've had to increase our lesson costs, which defeats the purpose of why we were doing it in the first place. So we initially were charging minimal rate, half the fee of what the standard rate is, but unfortunately because of lack of funding we've had to increase that at this stage. But once we do receive funding, we're going to lower that again,” said Ms Turner.

The program has received attention from other regions around Queensland eager to start similar programs.