In October the PortBUG wrote to the new Minister of Transport, Corey Wingard, seeking restoration of the much reduced State Bicycle Fund to ensure that in 2021 (and beyond), Councils can get on with implementing their bike plans & agendas. Here’s a little of what we had to say…
“…the development of Adelaide’s ‘cycling city’ status has effectively come to a standstill… there is now urgent need to support provision of more localized walking and cycling facilities… Virtually all of these smaller-scale projects are the responsibility of Local Government, who in turn depend on matched funding from the State Bicycle Fund (SBF) for completion of their annual works programs…”
“…at perhaps only 10% of its 1990s value, the SBF is rapidly becoming a rather pointless gesture of limited value to both Councils and the community. The current $300K available [as reported in the 1990-20 State Budget] would barely pay for a few hundred metres of paved pathway or a couple of secure road crossings, let alone the many more demanding projects that councils need to undertake…”
“PortBUG understands that the [2020-21] State Budget is due in early November. We ask that your Government allocate much more adequate funding to the SBF to ensure that it is able to support demands to further develop Adelaide’s Active Transport Network. The funding required is modest – we suggest in the order of $3 to 6M – and we’d argue that your Government consider such increased funding as an essential complement to the massive investment in roads and rail infrastructure you have planned.”
We have now received a response from Minister Wingard. Here’re some extracts from his letter:
The Minister then refers to a series of planning studies, including some focussed on cycling and Active Transport. It seems that the recent & rather ‘rushed’ consultation exercise we participated in may have been part of this…
The Minister refers to improving ‘connections to the CBD cycling network’ which – from PortBUG’s p.o.v – can only be a good thing given the confusion & lack of easy connectivity encountered by cyclists using the Outer Harbour Greenway when they enter the Adelaide Parklands!
Unfortunately the Minister then makes it clear that Government’s planning focus remains on larger-scale investments as outlined in the ’Twenty Year State Infrastructure Strategy’…
This apparent focus on larger-scale & longer-term investments – while accruing brownie-points for the Government of the day – ignores Council need for a reliable & adequate source of funding to support their bike plans and Active Transport agendas!
The Minister does not tell us what the State Bike Fund for 2021 will be so it’s not possible to really get a handle on what might be possible at a Council level (Councils rely on the SBF for funding support). So it looks as though we – local communities, BUGs and Councils – are still on our own!