Press Kit

National Launch of Learner Driver First Aid – CEO Message

Message from St John Ambulance Australia CEO, Brendan Maher

Today I was honoured to facilitate the launch of St John Ambulance Australia’s Learner Driver First Aid at Parliament House, Canberra.

We thank His Excellency General The Hon. David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor General of Australia, who officially launched our new, free eLearning course – available at This tool will be integral in our call for first aid training to become a prerequisite to obtaining a driver’s licence.

I was honoured to be joined on stage by speakers: the Hon. Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing; Mr Chris Steel MLA, ACT Minister for Transport; our Chancellor Mr Cameron Oxley; and the always inspiring and dedicated Val Dempsey, Senior Australian of the Year 2022, who stood beside her courageous daughter.

Learner Driver First Aid is part of a practical response to the approximately 1,200 people killed and 44,000 seriously injured on Australian roads each year. This eLearning takes just 30–45 minutes, and anyone can access it at no cost. It teaches basic skills that could save a life or lessen the impact of injury. We aim to equip an entire generation of bystanders with the skills to perform first aid interventions as they wait for help to arrive.

Thank you to all of today’s speakers, volunteers who undertook first aid demonstrations, and attendees from government, road safety organisations, emergency services and the community. I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated staff whose time and skill went into producing Learner Driver First Aid, and more broadly all of our staff, volunteers and members nation-wide who dedicate themselves to our diverse health services. Together we are furthering the impact of first aid in our communities – now and into the future.

“Today folks is a fabulous day, today our Nation is being invited to learn the skills that can save a life by learning first aid. Importantly we invite our youth to take part in a driver first aid awareness program that will be an integral part in reducing our dreadful road death statistics of nearly 1,200.”Valmai Dempsey, Senior Australian of the Year 2022 and St John Ambulance Volunteer.

“This new program will make a real, measurable and practical difference in what is a national problem. It’s a pretty simple equation, the more of us who know first aid, even the basics, the more people will receive assistance in the critical minutes after an accident.”His Excellency General The Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor General of Australia

“Thank you to St John Ambulance for this [program you’ve developed], it’s going to be an absolute life-saver, a game changer. And I can see why you’re working with such as sense of urgency to get it made mandatory right across the country. I congratulate you for the launch today, the work you’re doing will save lives.”The Hon Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

“We really welcome St John Ambulance initiative of developing this free online training course, and we want to incentivise the take up of this new training course by providing, a five hour discount off the mandatory supervised training hours [a hundred hours in the ACT] to incentivise all Canberra learner drivers, to get the skills they need to save a life.”Chris Steel MLA, ACT Minister for Transport