Cycling advocacy in Australian takes place on many different levels. Beyond the public facing organisations who represent cyclists in each state or organisations following specific cycling safety or accessibility objectives, a national organisation called the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) has worked ‘behind the scenes’ to give cycling a voice in federal politics. Funded by wholesalers and retailers from the Australian cycling industry, over $3 million has been invested in federal cycling advocacy since 2000. Now the Cycling Promotion Fund is evolving into a new entity called the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation which formally starts in July 1, 2017.
The new organisation was launched in Brisbane at the 2017 Australian Bicycle Summit (for cycling advocacy) although the new name is similar and doesn’t provide any clues about the new roles or activities of the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation. Ex-pro cyclist and past Cycling Australia Vice President Stephen Hodge been an active force behind the CPF and continues with the ACPF as the Government Relations Manager. To understand the new organisation and its role, Hodge answers some questions from Christopher Jones of Bicycles Network Australia (BNA).
Christopher Jones: The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) was an industry backed advocacy organisation, particularly active in advocacy and lobbying on a national level, does the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation (ACPF) retain this as the core aspect or is there a definitive shift?
Stephen Hodge: the ACPF will assume all activities of the CPF, and ensure that not only are these continued (we believe they are very valuable) but also that we can expand the programs we have not been able to consider due to a lack of resources.
Christopher Jones: Is the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation moving towards opening membership to all, or will it retain the industry membership characteristic?
Stephen Hodge: We are ecstatic that all industry members have agreed to remain members of the new Foundation, it has been critical to maintain that legacy and the 20 years of history in our transition to the independent, not for profit governance structure.
Of course, the opportunity for the Foundation, with a not-for-profit and independent governance structure, is to generate support for a range of new programs and engagements that are innovative in an attempt to find new ways of presenting cycling to audiences not currently engaged. Our video is a taste of that and just the first of many we hope!
Christopher Jones: In cycling advocacy, the CPF was not a ‘public facing’ type organisation with ‘public facing’ type campaigns (recently) is this now changing?
Stephen Hodge: It is true that we have been working a bit out of the public view, after analysing that the advocacy for cycling was absent from the federal scene, but we now have a seat at the table and extremely good access across all sides of politics. The invitation I received to join the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation’s Cities reference group is a good example of this.
But lobbying is often an activity conducted behind closed doors and we have had to spend a lot of time explaining and ‘selling’ what we do to our industry supporters and others. By expanding to a Foundation structure, we certainly believe the time has come to change the game and also the way we present cycling. I think you will see more visible activity and new national programs from us and efforts to leverage international linkages in cycling at the highest levels for national benefit here.
Expert Panel from the 2017 Australian Bicycle Summit in Brisbane
Christopher Jones: How does the ACPF fit into the landscape with other organisations such as Bicycle Network which is branching out and seeking to be national or the Cycle organisation which has assumed the role of media orientated cycling advocacy?
Stephen Hodge: We have been clear that we do not want to compete with existing cycling organisations in key areas of their activities, such as participation events. But while there may potentially be areas of overlap, I think we all have so much to do in a general sense to promote cycling that everyone’s combined efforts are going to be moving us in the right direction.
But that is a key reason we have been committed to running the Australian Bicycle Summit which gets everyone to the ‘kitchen table’ at least once a year to talk about how we can cooperate to do our advocacy better. Intriguingly, the Summit meeting also illustrated some interest from bicycle organisations in engagement with the Foundation that may provide additional opportunities for them to access a more focused national advocacy capacity than has previously been the case, something I am sure we will be talking about with them as we establish operations over the next six months or so.
Also, the very good relationships we have developed across the sector and the fact that we are not in direct competition with the business of existing organisations allows us to coordinate and discuss issues at any time with the many organisations around the country.
Christopher Jones: Thank you for sharing more information on the ACPF.
Another key announcement is that the ACPF is joining the World Cycling Alliance, an entity which connects cycling organisations (NGO’s) across the globe for stronger united approached and better information sharing. The World Cycling Alliance (WCA) was in fact launched in Adelaide in 2014 during Velo-City Global.
The ACPF also welcomes Phil Latz as the Development Director of the foundation. Latz is well known as the founder of the Bicycling Australia family of magazines (now owned by YAFFA) and this month announced his departure as editor of the Bicycling Trade industry magazine. Latz joins the long serving General Manager Peter Bourke and the Inaugural Board members; Matt Bazzano of Shimano Australia, Neelesh Mehtam Adrian Smith and Amanda Stevens.
During the launch of the ACPF, a video was presented to show the face and role of cycling in tomorrow’s Australia.Membership information Australian cycling businesses and further information about the activities are online: Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation.
Photos: Supplied by the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation