State Cycling Plan

(20 October 2011, Parliament House Sydney)
Ms CLOVER MOORE:My question is to the Minister for Transport.The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Murray Darling will come to order. The member for Drummoyne will come to order.

 

Ms CLOVER MOORE: Will the Government respond to the recommendation of University of Sydney's School of Public Health's prevention research group that 1 to 2 per cent of the State's road budget go to the State Cycling Plan so that more people get urgently needed exercise and State health costs are reduced? It is important to us all.

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: I seek the indulgence of the House to especially welcome students in the gallery from North Ryde Public School—I went to that school. They have a great local member in the member for Ryde and Minister for Citizenship and Communities. I acknowledge the member for Sydney's interest in all issues relating to active transport. As members know, active transport includes cycling, running and walking and is an important part of our transport network. The approach from those on this side of the House to transport planning is based on sound analysis and integration. That also means involving the many important peak community organisations and experts in the process. I am pleased to advise the House that the New South Wales Government is determined to deliver an integrated transport master plan that includes active transport, that is, cycling and pedestrian access.

Transport for NSW, the new integrated transport authority, which I am pleased to announce commences on 1 November, will guide the approach of the New South Wales Government to public transport planning, including the involvement of key stakeholders and community groups in this process. We know that all too often the previous Labor Government treated active transport as an afterthought. It loved promising projects before elections, but then failing to deliver them; then promising them again at the next election. I do not think the House wants me to remind them of Labor's bike plan and all the projects it announced as part of the bike plan of 1999. But then, when the bike plan came out 10 years later, all those same projects were in it. Do I need to list them all? No, I will not.

With students from my old school here, I will be on my best behaviour. The Government is focused on delivering a transport master plan that includes active transport and getting on with the job of preparing for this process. But for active transport to make our city easy to get around it needs to be fully integrated; it cannot be treated as stand-alone. There is no doubt that active transport is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around but, unfortunately, due to distance it is not an option that will suit everyone. I do not know whether the member for Penrith disagrees but, for example, a commuter who lives in Penrith and works in the city would have to be some sort of super-worker who could cycle more than 50 kilometres to the central business district, put in a full day's work and then cycle another 50 kilometres to get home.

I make the point that whilst active transport is not an option for everybody, clearly there are other commuters in our great city and our great State for whom cycling, walking or jogging to work is a great option, and we will do everything we can to encourage more of that active transport. The huge challenge for government is to accommodate the transport needs of all commuters, whether they live close to work or further afield, whether they choose to use active transport or public transport. That also means creating networks that allow people to move around not just in the peak periods but also the off-peak and on weekends, and not just to work but to undertake other activities. The transport master plan will look at all those issues.

I am also pleased to advise the member for Sydney in particular that in the 2011-12 budget funding process is a dedicated $31 million to support the continued growth of cycle programs in all parts of Sydney. Additional announcements will be made about the master plan and active transport in that regard. This Government is continuing to work closely with local councils and other stakeholders on these issues. I repeat, the New South Wales Government is committed to active transport, and for the first time in our State's history—unlike the other side of the House and its treatment of active transport as an afterthought or as a pre-election gimmick—we on this side of the House take this matter seriously; it will form part of a truly integrated transport plan. I thank the member for her question.