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The Perrottet Government has delivered its first budget for FY 2022/23 from a strong financial position with a record spend of $112.7 billion on new and upgraded infrastructure. $76.7 billion is allocated for transport. With an election in March 2023, this is the biggest allocation yet. In terms of active transport, a number of outstanding projects promoting walking and cycling are underway or being planned, which is cause for celebration:

  • The Sutherland Cronulla Active Transport Link (SCATL) - $2 million, offers attractive separated paths between activity hubs, schools and employment.
  • The Harbour Bridge Ramp - $16.2 million, will be a gamechanger offering improved safety, accessibility and reduced congestion. 
  • A $60 million expansion of connected pathways will encourage walking and cycling as part of the Strategic Cycleways Corridor 2022 Plan. 
  • The NSW Cycling Infrastructure Initiative - $14.5 million, beautiful!
  • Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 - $236 million and Stage 2- $602.4 (over 4 years) with close community consultation, promises to future proof and beautify the river city.
  • A 91 km pathway meandering around Sydney’s waterfront linking the Opera House to Parramatta Park- $60 million. It may not get you to work on time, but a great weekend ride and tourist attraction.
  • Mulgoa Rd active transport facilities- $266 million over 4 years. Looking forward to the detail.
  • Funding towards the promotion of bicycle riding, education and safety among women and girls to accelerate stronger female participation.  

Other major infrastructure projects listed on Budget Paper 3 which promise a lot but will require some significant follow up and monitoring from Bicycle NSW and its grassroots Bicycle User Groups:

  • The Westconnex Rozelle Interchange- a $1.2 billion spend, has been described as a nightmare by many locals with Victoria Road a virtual no go zone.  Bicycle NSW wants to see all bicycle riders able to use this area as well as effective long term connections and routes through the interchange. 
  • The Great Western Sydney Duplication - a $4.5 billion State and Federally funded mega project that threatens the Blue Mountains community of Medlow Bath.  Bicycle NSW wants to see the incredible tourism and active transport opportunity developed through a tunnel extension under Medlow Bath. 
  • $111.5 million for Smart Motorways.  Bicycle NSW urges caution on Smart Motorways after seeing challenges in other countries like the UK.  Bicycle NSW looks forward to being involved in the detailed consultation and planning.  

There was not a lot of mention in Budget Paper 3 on active transport infrastructure in the regions. That’s not to say it isn’t occurring in association with other infrastructure projects but without a separation in the budget papers for active transport, it’s difficult to determine to what extent bicycle riding and walking is being prioritised over fossil fuel modes of transport. 

What we would like to see more of

 20-30% of Carbon emissions are transport based, that’s why the UN have called for a commitment to cycling and walking. If the State government is serious about combating climate change and committing to Net Zero, promoting active transport should be just as much a priority as budgeting for regional reconstruction and adaptation. There are over 2 million car trips each and every day in greater Sydney under 2km producing over 250,000 tonnes of Co2 per annum.  We need a cultural shift that includes:

  • A mass public education program on the social, environmental, economic and health benefits of active transport, shared road use, and road user safety.
  • Support school communities by creating  safe streets within 2000m of every school and reducing speed limits to 30 km.
  • Subsidise bicycles and e-bikes now,  e-bikes for example use 1/40th the energy of EVs and enable people of all abilities to ride.
  • Improving active transport infrastructure in regional NSW. Railtrails add enormous value to (other) state regional economies. They need to happen without delay in NSW. 

Bicycle NSW is the peak bicycle advocacy group in NSW for over forty-five years. We are committed to making NSW a safer place to ride and walk. We advocate for the design, infrastructure, legislation and cultural shift needed to make our school journeys, commutes and social outings safer and more accessible for all.

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