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Tony Abbott: the Lycra cyclist who won’t fund bike paths

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 5 Sep 2013

The Australian Greens have called on the Australian Government to spend a fraction of its multi-billion annual transport budget on building bike paths - an area of transport infrastructure ignored by both the older parties.

"The Greens' plan for an $80 million national annual funding program for cycling would come from unallocated funds in the Nation Building Two program, and will not affect funding for safety-related road projects," Australian Greens Infrastructure Spokesperson, Senator for WA Scott Ludlam said.

"To date, the only money the Federal Government has ever spent on cycling infrastructure was the $40 million that the Australian Greens negotiated and won as part of the economic stimulus package four years ago.

"But the need for better bike paths is growing and cannot be ignored if we are to fix increasing congestion in our cities.

"All cyclists have a right to be safe, and while Tony Abbott might feel safe in the Lycra-clad early morning pelotons he rides with, the Greens want to encourage people of all ages and abilities to ride to work, school or the shops.

"We care about the people who want to ride to work or school now but don't feel safe to do so.

"The Greens want to make our cities the best cities in the world for bike-riding: currently more than half of Australian car trips are less than 5km and could be done by bike.

"Providing dedicated bike paths is essential if we want to provide safety for cyclists. The Greens care about making cycling safe and reducing congestion."

Policy summary:
• The successful $40 million National Bike Paths Projects program introduced as part of the economic stimulus package in 2009 be doubled to $80 million and become an ongoing annual program over 10 years, starting July 2014.

• This funding would provide dedicated bike paths as well as more facilities for cyclists including end-of-trip facilities, bike hire schemes and better links with public transport, as well as education and safety programs.

• The Australian Government is a signatory to the National Cycling Strategy 2011-16 which aims to double the national cycling rate by 2016 - but the strategy itself has no funding attached.

• The Greens' plan for an $80 million annual funding program represents less than one per cent (0.93%) of total Federal road and rail funding under the Nation Building Program.

• In 2012, Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam released Bike Vision, a much-applauded, costed plan to deliver 6,600km of safe, separated bike lanes and paths in Perth by the year 2029:

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