Bicycle Network: Funding & Budgets
State government - What is needed
Bicycle Network Victoria wants increased spending on all bike networks and more cycle-friendly policies
State Budget 2006
May 06. An additional $72 million has been allocated to bicyle and pedestrian infrastructure in the May Budget. For details go to our Transport and Liveability page.
Other benefits for bike riders include almost $3 million for bike programs in the Go For Your Life intiative.
November 05. Rail trails now have an $8 million Provincial Pathways Program.
Funding announced for Metropolitan Trail Network
October 05. After Bicycle Network Victoria members wrote over 500 letters earlier this year, Minister Thwaites has announced a new fund for the Metropolitan Trail Network (MTN). Funding for the MTN now meets the government's 2002 election promise, however, more money will be needed to fund critical projects.
(previous years) What is needed?
Feb 04. With Labor returned to power in November 2002, the challenge is getting them to commit more to cycling, so Victorians have more great places to ride.
A major commitment to cycling would not only be popular, it would make tremendous sense. Money spent now on cycling will save the community hundreds of millions of dollars in the future in health costs. Reduced road congestion has the potential to save even more.
Health costs associated with an inactive lifestyle cost Australia billions of dollars each year. Inactivity is second only to tobacco use in health costs to the community. Many other diseases, for instance heart disease (responsible for 40% of all deaths) and some cancers,can be avoided and treated with more exercise.
We are asking the government to commit $13m a year over the next five years to build a comprehensive cycling (and walking) network. This commitment, along with better planning laws and continuing to build bicycle facilties as part of road upgrades,would give 80% of Victorians a place to get active within 1km of where they live.
This would allow many more people to stay active as part of their everyday life. $13m over five years is less than the cost of building a new public hospital (rebuilding the Royal Women's Hospital is budgeted at $190-300m) whose beds would not be needed due to a healthier population.
Cycling increases where people have places to ride. For instance the lanes on St Kilda Rd have increased the number of cyclists by 1,000% and over a million bike riders use the Yarra Trail and the Bay Trail every year. But elsewhere others are denied access to a healthy lifestyle.
Under the current budget of $5m a year for bike lanes and paths, most Victorians will be waiting 40-80 years or more for a bike path near their house.
Last year Parks Victoria built less than 5km of new paths. There is more than 600km left to go in the Metropolitan Trail Network. The same is true for people wanting to ride on the roads or children wanting to ride to school.
What is needed
Bicycle Network Victoria is calling on the state government to implement the following:
- At least $5m a year for 5 years (up from less than $1m) to build the Metropolitan Trail Network in Melbourne and paths in regional Victoria. Local councils are ready to match such state government funding dollar for dollar for key paths in their communities.
- $5m a year would allow key gaps in the Capital City Trail around Melbourne's inner suburbs to be built in time for the Commonwealth Games so people can ride or walk to venues on a lasting green legacy of paths.
- $1m a year to build bicycle and walking paths to schools (no current commitment). Over 100 of Melbourne's schools are within 100 metres of an existing shared path, but need the connection to get more children cycling and walking to school in safety.
- $6m a year (up from $4m) for VicRoads to expand the Principal Bicycle Network of bike lanes on roads, including an additional $2m a year for bike routes into activity centres including town centres and our major educational institutions. This is key to the Government implementing the actions in Melbourne 2030.
- $1m a year for a Tourism Rail Trails program that will bring jobs, wealth and health to regional Victoria (no current commitment).
- Complete overdue path projects including the Federation Trail (more than 18months overdue); the Yarra Darebin link (more than 3 years overdue); the Northbank Trail; and the Rivergum Walk path in Viewbank.
- Enact planning provisions promised by government 16 months ago to make sure all new commercial buildings provide bicycle end or trip facilities - no more fat buildings.
- Enact planning provisions that ensure new developments include bike and walking paths and lanes that link to schools, shops and activity centres, not just around the lake or park - no more fat developments and fat suburbs.