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Estimates: implementation of the National Cycling Strategy

Estimates & Committees
Janet Rice 19 Oct 2015

Senator RICE: I want to follow up on questions I asked at the last estimates about the National Cycling Strategy. Can we have an update on any engagement and activity in the implementation of the National Cycling Strategy since May?

Mr Mrdak: I think the major activity has been that the next report to ministers on the implementation of the National Cycling Strategy is due to go to the ministerial council, which is meeting in Adelaide on 6 November. That will provide the next comprehensive update of progress against the strategy. We would be happy, once that is provided to ministers, to provide you with a copy of that update report.

Senator RICE: Okay. Thank you.

Mr Mrdak: That is the major step.

Senator RICE: So there is nothing else in terms of any other actions?

Mr Mrdak: Not in relation to the strategy—not to which we are party. Obviously, there are a whole range of actions by the respective jurisdictions at state and territory and local government level in relation to providing facilities and for encouraging cycling, including regulatory changes such as some of the trials now underway for the one-metre rule and the like, which is designed to promote safer cycling environments.

Senator RICE: I note the National Cycling Participation Survey results that were released in July 2015 actually noted a decrease in cycling participation between 2011 and 2015, when the goal of the National Cycling Strategy is to double participation. I am interested in knowing the federal government's response to that, because it is pretty alarming that we are seeing that trend.

Mr Mrdak: I am not as familiar with that analysis. I will take on notice that analysis, and perhaps, once ministers have had an opportunity to discuss the issues at the ministerial council, we can come back to you with what options the states and territories are pursuing.

Senator RICE: Given that that is the trend, wouldn't you expect that there should be a change of tack as to what is being done or some increased resources? That seems to be cause for alarm.

Mr Mrdak: Certainly, as I mentioned earlier, a number of jurisdictions are putting in place a mix of regulatory and infrastructure measures. I will take on notice exactly what actions are being pursued.

Senator RICE: Thank you. We asked a question on notice about the flow of federal funding to active transport, and the response we got was that, in relevant projects, the building of new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be included as parts of overall projects. I want to ask questions about how that is tracking and how that investment is actually flowing. Do you track how much of the infrastructure spend is being spent on active transport?

Mr Mrdak: As we indicate in the answer, most of the large infrastructure projects that are being funded by the Commonwealth or in part by the Commonwealth do include active transport options. For instance, a number of the road and rail projects all include cycleways and walkways which encourage active transport and no longer isolate parts of the city from other parts. So there is quite a big focus on that. For instance, a number of the road projects that are currently under construction all have active transport options built into them.

Senator RICE: But do you track that? Is there an assessment of how much of the budget spend is being spent on active transport?

Mr Mrdak: Our contribution is to fund the project. Obviously, features of those projects include walkways and cycleways. We do not actively track the individual spend against the active travel component vis-a-vis the overall roadway.

Senator RICE: I have not got the details of the strategy, but there is presumably a direction in the strategy of increasing investment in active transport?

Mr Mrdak: Yes. And, as I said, our investment program, which we discussed at length today, includes that virtually every major project includes provision for active transport.

Senator RICE: So how do you know whether you are reaching that if you are not tracking how much money is being spent on active transport?

Mr Mrdak: I do not think we have the numbers on what the cycleway or walkway may have cost vis-a-vis the total project, but we are certainly aware that, as the project is planned and constructed, it includes active travel options.

Senator RICE: Do you see that, in order to track whether there is in fact an increase in investment, it would be useful to have the metric to know exactly how much money is being spent on active transport?

Mr Mrdak: Certainly, when you have seen what has happened over the last few years—quite a large lift in Commonwealth expenditure—you are seeing a much larger provision of active transport options.

Senator RICE: But there is no documentation.

Mr Mrdak: I do not have—

Senator RICE: There is no metric to say how much that is increasing or, in terms of the next strategy, give a baseline of how much money is being spent on active transport this year compared with five years time. You will not have the metrics to measure that?

Mr Mrdak: We do not, but I will check if any jurisdictions do.

Senator RICE: Thank you.

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