Bicycle infrastructure: funding

I am pleased to follow the member for Mornington on the matter I wish to raise, which is for the attention of the Minister for Public Transport. The action I seek from the minister is that he make a clear commitment in relation to funding for bike infrastructure.

Data from the 2006 census ranks the electorate of Brunswick as having the highest proportion of people whose sole method of travel to work is by bicycle, with this proportion being 6.5 per cent. As a point of reference, the median percentage by electorate is less than 1 per cent. One need only see the level of bike use in the mornings and evenings to know the situation in my electorate attests the accuracy of the data. When you take into consideration recreational bike use and children riding their bikes to school the numbers exceed the data.

The overall bike use in my electorate is a further demonstration of my community’s commitment to environment and sustainability. Needless to say, my constituents are very passionate about bike infrastructure, in terms of not only enjoyment but also safety. Not surprisingly, our area also has a very active bicycle users group, the Moreland BUG, which was formed in 2006 through the merger of other bicycle user groups.

This advocacy group, which is a not-for-profit organisation, has many very worthy objectives, including the promotion of greater and safer commuter and recreational cycling in the city of Moreland; working with local and state government authorities regarding on-road and off-road bicycle facilities in the city of Moreland; the promotion of affordable and accessible membership and activities; and the promotion of the pursuit of cycling generally.

Members of this group, along with many people in the local community, have been passionate advocates for the building of better bike infrastructure. As a result of this, we now have the Upfield bike path, bike lane markings on Sydney Road and other main roads, bike-friendly traffic signals and many hoops.

Whilst these are great, there is much more to do, and some of the future projects that are under active consideration by the BUG and the local council include a West Brunswick bike shimmy, a report for which has been completed; permanent bike treatments on Sydney Road; and a Craigieburn railway line bike path from Pascoe Vale to Broadmeadows.

Of great concern to my community are the persistent rumours that cuts will be made to the funding for bike infrastructure within VicRoads and other areas of government. These rumours have been made all the more virulent with the recent budget’s flagging of $2.2 billion in ‘departmental savings’, with still no clear explanation of how these savings will be manifested.

The action I seek of the Minister for Public Transport is that he provide specific assurance that, in delivering his department’s share of the $2.2 billion in ‘department savings’, not only will funding for bike infrastructure from VicRoads and his department not be cut but he will also, as a matter of both fairness and safety, be looking to increase bike infrastructure funding to levels that reflect the growing numbers of bike users.

Hansard, 2011