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State Government: WA

WA shows the way

8 May 2012. The West Australian 2012 state budget commits $28M for bike infrastructure, placing in stark relief the derisory $0 for new bike infrastructure allocated by fellow conservatives from the Baillieu team in Victoria.

The WA commitment is unprecedented and puts the Victorian Government to shame.

WA Transport Minister Troy Buswell and Treasurer Christian Porter announced that the additional funding would be used to improve Perth’s principal shared path network within a 15km radius of the Perth CBD and increase bicycle network grants across the State.

(Victoria's newly refined principal bicycle network is ready to announce, but silence reigns as the money to build it vanishes.)

“Funding of $28million in the 2012-13 State Budget demonstrates the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to the implementation of the Western Australian Bicycle Network Plan, which we released in March 2012,” Mr Buswell said.

“With an estimated 300,000 cycling trips a month in the Perth metropolitan area alone, this funding will enable us to deliver targeted projects to address infrastructure gaps and provide safe routes for the many West Australians who cycle.”

Bicycling Western Australia (BWA) welcomed the additional $20 million funding over the next two years to support the WA Bicycle Network (WABN) Plan.

“The additional funding is fantastic news and certainly a step in the right direction. However, we would like to see an ongoing commitment from the government to enable to WABN to be completed over the coming years,” Chief Executive Officer, Jeremey Murray said.

Mr Buswell said, in line with the Bicycle Network Plan, the priority principal shared paths to be built with the additional Budget funding included the Midland rail line from Bassendean Station to Midland Station; the Fremantle rail line from Shenton Park Station to Loch Street Station and from Grant Street Station to Marine Parade; and sections of the Mitchell Freeway from Glendalough Station to Reid Highway.

“Principal shared paths are vital for cycling activity due to their versatility. Although the paths are primarily used for longer trips they are also suitable for less experienced cyclists on shorter trips, as well as pedestrians,” he said.

“This funding boost will enable relatively large sections of principal shared paths to be constructed, whereas this has previously been done on a kilometre by kilometre basis.

“These projects will provide many cyclists with safe, high-quality paths to ride on, in place of using a mixture of poor quality paths and local roads, which may be busy and without any provision for cyclists.”

The Minister said the additional Budget funding would also mean the funding available for Perth Bicycle Network grants would double from $2million to $4million over two years, and increase Regional Bicycle Network grants to $1.5million in 2012-13 and to $2million in 2013-14.

“This additional grant funding will benefit metropolitan and regional local governments to develop their local cycling infrastructure projects,” he said.

“The Liberal-National Government is committed to ensuring that all West Australians have access to sustainable methods of transport through the bicycle network plan, which will continue to guide the development and implementation of cycling infrastructure over the next decade.”

The Treasurer said 2012-13 State Budget funding would supplement the $2.66million the State Government already spent annually on cycling, and was part of the $105million Budget allocation for initiatives to address traffic congestion in and around the CBD.

“The Liberal-National Government has provided unprecedented investment to not only transform our capital city but also ensure there is capacity to meet the needs of our growing population and to keep the city moving during this transformation,” Mr Porter said.

“The provision of this funding in the 2012-13 State Budget further strengthens our commitment to building our State for future generations.”

While Bicycling Western Australia was supportive of the development of the high quality PSP network, it said it comes at a very high price and takes many months of planning, design and construction.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads WA need to give greater consideration to other options such as on-road bike lanes which can be installed in much shorter time frames and at a fraction of the cost of the PSP network,” Mr Murray said.