Report of the Australian Vote4Cycling Partnership for the 2013 federal election.
Direct link to Report HERE (PDF)
We are now into the last week of the election campaign and most of the policy and announcements likely to have an impact on cycling are on the table.
Since we launched the Vote4Cycling campaign and our national policy platform of six key measures, we have sought policy positions from all parties, welcomed statements for cycling from more than 60 candidates, including four Ministers and other sitting MPs, and nearly 3,000 Australians have signed our online petition. Our policies are designed to:
Interest in cycling for transport and recreation is an immediate opportunity for the Commonwealth Government but investment is needed to ensure cycling is convenient, safe and supported both now and in the future. It is one of the best buys for health, transport, environment and liveable communities.
The Australian Vote4Cycling Partnership urges the next Australian Government to consider the well-documented benefits and low cost of facilitating a major increase in cycling in this country.
Here is what we have found from each party’s campaign’s announcements and policies. There are some significant differences in positions, commitments and views on the main policy areas.
We urge you to read closely and hope it assists you to determine who will get your support. Regardless of who forms the next Government, recognition of the importance of these issues will have to become a priority.
The Australian Vote4Cycling Partnership
As party policy is still being announced at the time this report was prepared, you should check regularly on Vote4Cycling.com.au for any updates and news in the final lead-up to the election. Also, many of the individual candidates have responded to some or all of our six policy priorities in their statements on the website.
Our page on Major Party Policy webpage can be viewed here: http://vote4cycling.com.au/policy-search/major-party-policies/ and our summary follows below.
The current Labor Government has provided us with a statement that notes the economic benefits of getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, bicycles or walking.
Under Labor you would continue to benefit from the National Urban Policy’s strong identification of cycling as part of the solution for a range of urban issues.
The recently released Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport Ministerial statement includes actions the Commonwealth would take in support of cycling through the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. It concluded a return of $1.43 to the economy for every kilometre cycled.
Funding via key components of the significant Nation Building 2 infrastructure program would be allocated to cycling initiatives that fulfil the objectives of the National Urban Policy. Also, for the first time, a major bicycle infrastructure project has qualified for inclusion on Infrastructure Australia’s list of conforming projects.
The current Labor Government has also articulated a policy of ‘positive provision’ for cycling in federally funded transport infrastructure. This means that cycling must be included in the scope of federally funded transport projects where appropriate.
Several announcements have been made in this campaign to fund regional bicycle trails (‘Rail Trails’).
The Coalition have told us they would again ‘put in place arrangements that where federal funding for major roads was involved the design should take into consideration the requirements and safety of non-motor vehicle uses which of course includes bikes and pedestrians’.
The Coalition has also confirmed support for Infrastructure Australia (IA) and Vote4Cycling would expect that IA’s move to include a major bicycle infrastructure project on its list of conforming projects bodes well for continued support from whoever forms the next Government.
Their position on public and active transport issues is unclear at this stage, apart from urban rail which is not a focus.
In announcing its recent road safety policy, the Coalition said it will ‘recognise road safety for cyclists as a priority’ and says in part ‘in cities across Australia, we are seeing more commuter cyclists and we will work with state and territory governments to ensure that the skills and infrastructure are in place so that driver and cyclist training and information occurs at the same time.’
The Greens have a strong focus on a range of public and active transport modes and could be expected to pursue these in the Parliament.
Their announcement that they would increase public and active transport funding to 30% of the transport budget is the single biggest commitment by any party and would see a big increase in investment in public transport, cycling and walking.
In terms of behaviour change and safety measures, the Greens have announced support for the Amy Gillett Foundation’s ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign and have introduced a bill into the Victorian Parliament in support.
The Australian Christians believe the Government needs to spend significantly more on improving cycle ways and facilities for cyclists.
The Liberal Democratic Party opposes mandatory helmet laws.
No other specific cycling-related policy is readily visible in the policy of other parties, but it is worth noting the strong support for cycling from all the candidates who have posted their positions on our website.
At the time of writing, 65 federal candidates had posted a position for cycling on the Vote4Cycling website representing a total of 47 electorates. They included three Ministers and four sitting MPs. The state break-down was very close to the national population average and also representative of the urban/regional divide.
All have made strong statements in support of cycling and we urge you to look at the candidates in your electorate to see who supports your choice to ride a bike for health, transport or recreation.
It has been obvious from steady increases in candidates posting their positions and comments received, that the short duration of the Vote4Cycling campaign has not allowed as much time for federal candidates to become aware of, and engage with, the campaign as might otherwise have been possible.
You can search by electorate, postcode or name of candidate and the full list can be found here: http://vote4cycling.com.au/policy-search/
The Australian Vote4Cycling Partnership is a first and has brought 23 State and National cycling organisation together to focus attention in this election on the growing number of Australians who choose to cycle or would like to ride more.
See http://vote4cycling.com.au/partnership/ for more information.