This report looks at the injury, both fatal and non-fatal, of Indigenous persons in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland due to transport accidents in the five-year period 1999–00 to 2003–04. Sixty per cent of the Indigenous population of Australia and 38% of the total Australian population reside in these four jurisdictions. The main findings of the report are that:
- Accidents involving road vehicles accounted for 99% of transport-related injury to Indigenous persons in this period.
- On a population basis, Indigenous persons had more than twice the rate of fatal injury and 1.3 times the rate of serious injury due to transport accidents compared with non-Indigenous persons.
- More than half of both Indigenous persons (52%) and non-Indigenous persons (55%) fatally injured were car occupants. However, 35% of Indigenous persons were pedestrians compared with 13% of non-Indigenous persons and 3% of Indigenous persons were motorcyclists compared with 13% of non-Indigenous persons.
- Among the seriously injured, 47% of Indigenous persons were car occupants compared with 34% of non-Indigenous persons, 17% of Indigenous persons were pedestrians compared with 7% of non-Indigenous persons and 8% of Indigenous persons were motorcyclists compared with 24% of non-Indigenous persons.
- Rates of fatal and serious injury for males, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, were higher than for females.
- Fatal injury rates, on an age-specific population basis, for non-Indigenous males and females were highest for the 15–19 and 20–24 year age groups, declining thereafter until the 60+ age groups. For Indigenous males and females, on the other hand, fatal injury rates rose in early adulthood and remained elevated through middle age.
- Serious injury rates for Indigenous males and females were fairly similar to corresponding non-Indigenous rates over the age band from 5–29 years and above age 60 (women) or 65 years (men) but Indigenous people had a substantially higher serious injury rate in infancy and in the age bands from 30–59 years.
- The proportion of Indigenous persons among fatal injury cases rose from 3% in major cities to 22% in remote areas and 62% in very remote areas. The proportion of Indigenous persons among serious injury cases rose from 2% in major cities to 13% in remote areas and 38% in very remote areas.