Petitioning the Feds
BIKESydney is encouraging your support for a petition to the Federal Government to put its money where its mouth is in relation to bike infrastructure and programs. Please add your name to the petition.
The petition is a direct response to Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Discussion Paper on “Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport” but also leverages the lead provided by Minister Anthony Albanese’s positive rhetoric on cycling (The Punch – 20 Nov 2012) in which he acknowledges the following key points:
- Still, eight out of ten commuting trips in Australia are taken by car;
- Congestion costs us $13 billion per annum, and this will increase to $20 billion per annum in the “do nothing” case;
- Obesity has now overtaken tobacco as our greatest cause of preventable disease, costing just under $60 billion a year;
- The cost of one kilometre of road or motorway would fund 110 kilometres of bikeway.
While the justification of investment in cycling on only economic grounds is stark and limiting (it excludes consideration of other significant benefits such as “liveability”, social cohesion, happiness and habituation to more sustainable practice), we think it an incremental step forward that the Government has finally articulated the economic benefit possible from cycling. Now, there is a framework for dialogue with Treasury.
The health benefit alone (ie excluding gains in productivity and avoided congestion for example) is 75 cents per kilometre cycled. The TOTAL benefit is $1.43 per kilometre cycled. That is, expenditure on cycling is an opportunity to return economic value, an investment, not a cost burden.
The “Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport” Discussion Paper is a progressive essay on the indisputable benefits to society of cycling and walking. It sensibly seeks to advance cycling by targeting those short trips to activity hubs such as universities, hospitals or a CBD that are currently undertaken by car, and improving access to and integration with public transport.
Of course, the key is having the Government follow through with the rhetoric; allocating budgets and committing Departments to the initiatives it champions. Here in New South Wales in particular where Bike Plan after Bike Plan has been proffered, we’ve too long suffered for “good intentions”.
We can each start the push for funding by simply adding your name to the petition.