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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are more likely to be injured in land transport accidents than other Australians, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to transport: 2005-06 to 2009-10, looks at death and serious injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia due to land transport accidents over the five-year period 2005-06 to 2009-10.

It shows that Indigenous Australians were 2.8 times more likely to be fatally injured due to land transport accidents, and 1.3 times more likely to be seriously injured compared with other Australians.

'One of the main reasons for this finding is that a much larger proportion of Indigenous people live in remote regions, where rates of land transport injury were highest overall', said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.

'But, even after taking the remoteness factor into account, Indigenous land transport fatalities were higher than expected.'

'The good news is that fatal injury rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as non-Indigenous Australians dropped over the five years from 2005-06 to 2009-10-by about 8% and 6% per year respectively,' Professor Harrison said.

'However, serious injury rates for Indigenous Australians rose by about 2% per year over the five-year period, while serious injury rates for other Australians dropped by about 1% per year.'

Indigenous Australians who were fatally or seriously injured in land transport accidents were less likely to have been drivers and more likely to have been passengers than other Australians.

'Among Indigenous Australians, drivers made up 27% of all fatal injuries due to land transport accidents while passengers made up 32%. Among other Australians these figures were 36% and 14% respectively,' Professor Harrison said.

'For serious injuries among Indigenous Australians, 15% of those injured were drivers and 19% were passengers. Among other Australians, the figures were 21% and 9% respectively.'

Due to issues with data, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory were not included in the report.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 26 July 2013

Further information: Professor James Harrison, tel. (08) 8201 7620, mob. 0405 031 467

Full publication: Injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to transport: 2005-06 to 2009-10