2022 Senior Australian of the Year calls for first aid training for learner drivers

Val Dempsey is named 2022 Senior Australian of the Year for her tireless commitment to
promote and deliver emergency first aid training to help save lives.

Known affectionately as Aunty Val, the 71 year-old has dedicated her adult life volunteering with St
John to promote a healthy and safe community. In 2021 alone she clocked-up over 600 hours of
service, leading first-aid training, providing support at local events and activities and working with the
COVID-19 response team.

The experienced nurse wants to see learner drivers become the nation’s next generation of mobile life
savers by making first-aid a compulsory part of gaining a driver’s licence.

“The first people on the scene of an accident are usually fellow road users. I would like to see a time
when all bystanders have the first aid training, competence and confidence to put those skills to use in
those vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.”

“I have dedicated my life to assisting others in need and equip them with skills and confidence to be
able to help others and deal with an emergency. As a nation, we can rethink our approach to
those critical minutes between life and death at the scene of an accident and make community
members part of the solution.”

“As ACT Senior of the Year, I see it as my duty to raise awareness of issues that are close to my
heart and promote solutions to make our community an even safer place to be.”

St John Ambulance Australia endorses Val’s call for new drivers to undertake first-aid training as part
of their driving test. Newly appointed National CEO, Brendan Maher notes that the draft National
Road Safety Strategy for the next decade aims for a 30 per cent decrease in death and trauma
through safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe driver behaviour. “The strategy cannot
overlook the need for a rapid and confident post-crash response from bystanders.”

The Australian of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of inspirational
people who go above and beyond for their communities. The 2022 Awards will be presented in
Canberra by the Prime Minister on January 25 and broadcast on ABC TV from 7.30pm (AEDT).

For further information and interviews please contact:

Val Dempsey ACT Senior Australian of the Year 0409 966 923 val@stjohnact.org.au
Brendan Maher CEO St John Ambulance Australia 0408 496 537 ceo@stjohn.org.au
Adrian Watts CEO St John Ambulance ACT 0423 020 220 awatts@stjohnact.org.au

2022 Senior Australian of the Year calls for first aid training for learner drivers

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