Bicycle NSW and riders across the state can ask for change, but questions from MPs are impossible to ignore.
A crucial part of the democratic process is that when MPs ask questions in Parliament they need to be answered, usually within 21 days. We have seen MPs raise issues and questions for bike riders in the NSW Parliament.
Increase in Active Transport Investment
On the 12th of May, 2020 The Hon. Alex Greenwich MP received answers to the questions he asked in Parliament. We were surprised at the news that:
“ approximately $600 million will be invested into walking and cycling infrastructure over the next four years. This will bring the Government's total investment to around $1 billion - the largest commitment in the State's history.”
Checking the sums, this looks like a 25% increase in annual spend from $120 million to $150 million! Really - we had to pinch ourselves.
Was nothing spent in the first year pushing all the expenditure forward a year? We’ve seen evidence of cycleways being built, so money has been spent, even before COVID-19. In efforts to ‘fact check’ this appears to be consistent with a statement by The Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP.
The original promise included $285 million for paths through South West Metro and other infrastructure projects, so promised funds aren’t just to be spent on building cycleways and footpaths in neglected areas. However, increases in active transport funding are good news for communities.
In answering Alex Greenwich MP, the government referred to COVID measures including pop-up cycleways and the Government's new $15 million Streets as Shared Spaces program separately. So it does seem active transport has had a budget increase.
“We want to share our gratitude and thanks with members,” said General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
By sharing and amplifying messages through social media, writing to your MP, participating in consultations, sharing your issues you have elevated rider issues up the government agenda. You are helping inspire and motivate MP’s, councils, business and the government to stand up for riders. Well done, and thank you.