News In Brief

19:43' 21-01-2019
The State Government is launching a brand-new app, myLearners, that allows learner drivers to digitally log their driving hours.

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    Chinese Refugee Visa Appeals Double

    The Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s annual report shows the number of Chinese nationals appealing rejected applications for refugee visas increased to2,821 in 2017-18, more than double the 1,200 of the previous year.

    This is the second highest group of appeal applicants by number after Malaysians, although by percentage Malaysian appeals increased by only about 35%.

    The report also noted that the number of applications about refugee decisions overall had increased 42% over the last two years.

    The increase in Chinese refugee applications comes at the same time as a reported Chinese government crackdown on the ethnic minority Muslim Uighurs in China’s western Xinjiang province. However, it is not clear how many of the applicants claimed asylum on ethnic or religious grounds.

    Road Toll Is Lowest Ever

    Last year Victoria recorded its lowest number of road deaths since records began, with 214 people losing their lives on Victorian roads.

    This is 45 less than in 2017, and 29 fewer than the previous record low of 243, in 2013.

    A notable trend has been the reduction in the deaths on high-speed regional roads. Regional roads claimed the most lives in 2017, with 156 deaths. However, that number dropped to 108 in 2018.

    Young driver deaths (aged 18 to 25) also reduced dramatically in 2018, with 14 deaths compared with 31 in 2017.

    Of the 106 people killed on metropolitan roads in 2018, 32 were pedestrians.

    The State Government’s commitment to lowering the road toll has included setting up around 1500 kilometres of barriers, and the toughest penalties for drink and drug driving in Australia.

    Learn To Drive With New App

    The State Government is launching a brand-new app, myLearners, that allows learner drivers to digitally log their driving hours.

    Learner drivers must log 120 hours of supervised driving. So far this record has been kept in inconvenient paper log books.Supervisors will be able to approve driving hours directly through the app or a computer, smartphone or tablet, with no need for an additional paper log book.

    The app includes a range of features, including reminders for both learners and supervisors to put their phones away while driving.

    The app will also encourage young drivers to use a purpose-built website to help them progressively organise driving sessions that match their experience.

    Fitzroy Pedestrian Crossing Stands Out

    In a move designed to improve pedestrian safety, Yarra Council has painted a 3D pedestrian crossing in Fitzroy North.

    The painting is an optical illusion, with the white bars generally used in such crossings appearing to be large concrete blocks, floating above the road. The illusion encourages drivers to slow down at they approach.

    The crossing is in Best Street, Fitzroy North, just outside Piedimontes Supermarket. According to the Council website, the crossing was designed in response to concerns raised by the community about pedestrian safety and traffic and parking management in the area.

    Yarra Council worked with local supermarket Piedimonte’s to develop the concept.

    There are similar crossings in New Zealand, the US and several other countries, including Australia. One was painted in Cairns earlier last year, and in the outback Queensland town of Boulia. However, this is the first in Victoria.

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