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Bunbury woman talks driving accessibility at flagship TEDx event in Perth

Melissa PedeltyManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup community engagement officer Susie Delaporte.
Camera IconShire of Donnybrook-Balingup community engagement officer Susie Delaporte. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

A Bunbury woman has been nominated to fill an exclusive TEDxPerth speaking position, furthering her mission to improve driving accessibility for young people living with disability or other barriers.

Susie Delaporte will present at the event alongside 15 other speakers on April 1 to share the success of the End to End Young Driver Education program which has resulted in fewer young people jailed for driving offences and fewer deaths on the roads since its inception in February 2020.

Ms Delaporte said she was nervous to present to such a large crowd but feels it is incredibly important to spread her message and raise awareness for a program that could have huge long-term benefits not only to youth but to the communities in which they live.

“Whilst this program is fantastic and it’s addressing that there is actually a problem, it’s addressing it to such a small sector of the population and I would just love a program like this to be wound out for all young people with barriers to getting a licence,” she said.

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“I want to get the word out there for how important that is and I hope that it resonates with right people and perhaps the program might be extended and expanded.

“I think the success that the program has had shows that when young people get the opportunity they will take it.”

The first-time TEDx speaker — chosen out of 200 others — said the thing that drove the program’s inception was her background working in disability support, homelessness, domestic violence and foster care, along with a crew of dedicated individuals committed to the cause, including key concept driver Semara Murphy.

“I noticed there were lots of young people who wanted to get their licence or perhaps had never either thought of it that had problems with a disability and they had significant barriers to getting there,” she said.

“From there working with young people in various different roles and just noticing that there was frustration around the difficulties inherent in getting a licence. . . you’d come across these young people that for whatever reason would struggle with the licensing process.

“Working in my last job in homelessness. . . I referred a lot of my young people there and had great success.”

The Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup community engagement officer said regional youth were particularly affected by licensing barriers and the impact of not having a licence because of a lack of public transport, and easy access to study, training and places of work.

“Addressing that issue of distance for young people in our regions is just so important,” she said.

“If communities want to survive and thrive they need to look after their young people because they’re the future of the town.

“It is essential to rural and regional communities to look at their youth and stop seeing them as a problem and get curious and find out what they might be needing.”

TEDxPerth general manager Nicole Riksman said she expected the quality speaker line-up to attract a record attendance.

“Our speaker curation team has been working hard behind the scenes to identify 10 alluring speakers covering topics and subjects that have application to a broad audience,” she said.

“Given this is our first major WA event since 2019, we’re upping the ante to offer the people of Perth and Western Australia the chance to hear direct from some our State’s most interesting people and personalities, as well as some visiting speakers.”

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