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Implementing safe system research in
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are at increased risk of death and serious injury due to road crashes than other Australians. The safe system road safety approach aligns well with Aboriginal holistic knowledge and worldviews, yet little information is available on applications to Aboriginal settings. This paper reports on a safe system demonstration project in an Aboriginal community, commissioned by the Indigenous Road Safety Working Group, funded by Austroads, who formed the Reference Group for the study. Ethical approval was obtained and the project was advertised nationally calling for expressions of interest. Several applications were received and a community selected in conjunction with the Reference Group: Bidyadanga WA. Further consultation with the Bidyadanga Community Council resulted in unanimous support for the project and commitment to undertake a collaborative role. The audit was successfully conducted during June-August 2010. This demonstration project showed application of the safe system to Aboriginal settings is feasible. Strong engagement with the community was essential. The approach undertaken provides a model for other Indigenous communities both in Australia and internationally.