The national bike path program which commenced as part of the stimulus package in 2009 is already benefitting the country, the Australian Greens said today.
Greens transport spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the program helped build important infrastructure, and rejected claims the slower than expected roll-out undercuts the positive role the stimulus package played during the financial crisis.
"The stimulus package was $42.5 billion dollars. The Greens-initiated bike program cost $40 million dollars - 0.09 per cent of the package. To claim the delay of this program somehow undercuts the fact the stimulus package helped Australia stave off recession is absolutely bizarre.”
“The bike path program is a good initiative and we argue it should be an on-going national project. We have put an $80 million budget submission to the Government to achieve this.”
Senator Ludlam said that the Australian National Audit Office Report offered valuable insights into how to improve the coordination of future cycling projects.
“The delays in the program showed up that the States and Territories weren’t ready to instantly start projects on the ground – the strategic plans just weren’t there. The Commonwealth doesn’t currently spend a dollar on cycling infrastructure unless it happens to be attached to an urban freeway.”
"Bike paths reduce the pressure of traffic on the road, reduce pollution, and greatly benefits public health. The bike program was a stimulus project, and it completed almost 90 new paths by deadline, but it also built much-needed infrastructure.”
"In Australia 34 per cent of household green house gas emissions come from private motor vehicles, but a third of all car trips in Perth – for example - are 3km or less. With decent bike infrastructure people could leave their cars at home for many of those journeys. Transport related costs account for 11.5% of Australian household expenditure, making it one of the largest costs for a household. If cycling replaced a third of car trips, it could save households about $2000 a year. As the price of oil goes up, this will be a greater and greater saving for Australians."