Will Party Policy on Cycling Change your Vote this Election?
- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 4 September 2013
The Vote4Cycling has just published the report on the political party policies for cycling issues in the lead up to the 2013 Australian Federal Elections. The Vote4Cycling initiative was recently announced on BNA and is supported by all of Australia’s major cycling organisations and biggest cycling communities. Since the launch of the initiative it has collected policy statements from more than 60 candidates and over 3000 people have signed the vote4cycling petition.
Many candidates seem to be noncommittal in publically sharing their policies/views on cycling issues, perhaps for fear of stepping out-of-line from official party policy. Candidates I contacted directly to encourage participation have either not responded or have thanked me for my interest though without participating and relying on the broader party policy.
Vote4Cycling has summarised the policies from the political parties on cycling issues from information provided to date and these are presented below:
Labour Party Cycling Policies
The current Labor Government has provided vote4cycling 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’).
Coalition Cycling Policies
The Coalition have told vote4cycling 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.’
Green Party Cycling Policies
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.
Other Party Cycling Policies
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.
Further Information and Updates
Party policy updates will appear on the Vote4Cycling website. The website also presents the objectives of the vote4cycling initiative as well as responses from 65 candidates including three ministers and four sitting MPs.