The budget estimates process is one of the important ways a government can be held to account for the way it works and spends taxpayer funds.
We’ve summarised the issues that matter most to you.
On page 31 of the transcript the Hon. Cate Faehrmann MLC questioned the Transport Minister on:
- rider safety,
- expenditure on road safety education,
- the Safety on Spokes campaign Bicycle NSW ran last year
- the Principal Bike Network
We appreciated the response of the new Transport Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, who said:
“...we need to do everything we can to facilitate a greater take-up of active transport and make it safer…”
As the Transport Minister indicated on page 32, he has set up a meeting with Bicycle NSW next week (which we are greatly looking forward to). We are heartened by indications that safe separated facilities are considered critical to improving rider safety and we look forward to learning how a planned network will be rolled out under the new Minister.
At page 71, the Hon Mick Vietch MLC asked:
“How much funding has been spent on educating drivers about the close passing and safe behaviour around cyclists on our roadways?”
It was interesting to learn from Mr Carlon that in 2021-22 New South Wales will invest around $870,000 in bicycle safety communication and advertising programs. The historic Go Together campaign was described as ‘communicating that minimum passing distance rule to drivers’, but given the generally poor awareness of this rule that was introduced over 6 years ago we believe more needs to be done.
We hope the proposed $540,000 budget for a road safety campaign anticipated to launch in early 2022 (page 71) will be spent on a campaign of a similar quality to the Ride to Live campaign for motorbike riders. A quick look at the two campaigns reveals a clear difference in quality, investment and persuasive between them. Bicycle NSW and the Amy Gillett Foundation have provided extensive advice and contributed significant resources to this area. As yet we have not been invited to engage on the campaign, but we will let you know if this changes.
Hon Mick Vietch MLC at page 74 followed up with more questions on the delivery and implementation of rider safety education and we learned that $6 million per year is invested in the Safety Town education for school children. We’d love to hear from members who have experienced this program (or whose children have participated) to find out how it has worked for them.
“In spite of the complexity and variety of questions asked at this budget estimates, we appreciate that important issues for bike riders remain on the agenda, and we will continue to pursue action,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.