Promises are great, but spending tells us what’s actually happening.
We shared earlier this year a lot of questions had been asked during budget estimates on issues that matter to bike riders. The answers provided to questions posed during budget estimates help us understand government priorities and activities.
It appeared that for the 2020-2021 financial year just under $24 million had been spent on active transport infrastructure, in spite of the promise to invest $710 million over 4 years. In response to questions by the Hon Cate Faehrmann MLC we have learned the actual active transport spend was around $130 million.
That’s better news for bike riders, than we initially thought, and we are pleased Minister Constance acknowledges the importance of cycling. But if the NSW Government is to keep its promise, the delivery of active transport infrastructure will need to accelerate.
$72.2 billion was spent on roads and rail in the 2020-2021 year alone, but for far less than one percent of this expenditure a 40% increase in bike riding was recorded in Greater Sydney alone. That’s an impressive return on investment. We look forward to the increased pace of spending on active transport infrastructure, to meet the government’s target.
Over the years you’ve seen the many ways Bicycle NSW has tried to educate and campaign on road safety for riders. In spite of promises by the Centre for Road Safety to work with us on a campaign, and the brief we prepared that was supported by Police and several MP’s, we were ‘ghosted’. We got pedalling and developed the Safety on Spokes Campaign, but we don’t have the resources to expand.
In the answers to budget estimates questions we learnt that in the 2019-20 year the Centre for Road Safety underspent due to the bushfires and COVID-19. Of their $373 million budget they only spent $344 million, and the budget for 2020-21 is $647.9 million.
The quote we received for turning our brief into quality campaign resources for television, digital and print media that would run for 2-5 years was under $200,000. Buying advertising space isn’t cheap, but with a ‘handy’ $29 million underspent, we’re certain the Centre for Road Safety could easily afford a campaign that makes a real difference on the road for rider safety.
“These issues matter to riders, and there are more to explain,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“Why not email, tweet or message your MP and local Councillor and remind them that these issues that matter to you and your family,” said Bastien.