Apr 26, 2019

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Footscray, Melbourne – Friday, 26 April 2019

Subjects: National bike paths strategy

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There are eight million cyclists in Australia.  That’s why we’ve announced in the last week a $260 million National Bike Paths Strategy.

It will fund infrastructure, and it will also work with cycling organisations about how we promote education, how we have increased safety and how we really develop a culture of cycling, which is good for transport, getting from A to B. It’s good for recreational activities, it’s good for health, it’s good for our environment, and reducing our emissions. But, it’s also good for safety, as long as we can provide these safe cycling pathways. And that’s what this project’s about.  $4.8 million to connect up the missing links between West Footscray Station and down to the Maribyrnong River, and it will make an enormous difference. I congratulate the fact that the Victorian State Labor Government under Dan Andrews has a $100 million fund. The largest fund that any State Government’s ever had.

Well, this is by far the largest fund that any Federal Government has ever had. The last biggest fund that we’ve had is the one that we had when we were in government last time, which was $60 million dollars. But this is bigger, because more planning has happened.  And councils around Australia…yesterday we had an announcement up on the north coast of New South Wales around Lismore and that area, around Casino and Murwillumbah, of connecting paths between those regional centres.

Cycling can be great for tourism, but it can also be great, not for people just going out cycling in itself. One of the things we’ve got to change and what paths like this will do, and the one that Katie was talking about, is for people to cycle to work, people to cycle to school. The practical use of cycling as a form of transport, as well as a form of recreation, and that’s really what we want to do. And there’s been some fantastic advocates in the Caucus that have enabled me to push this through, but none stronger than Tim Watts. So I was really keen to get here, for this to be one of the first announcements that we made, out of this strategy.

TIM WATTS: Thanks Albo. It’s a really exciting day for us here in Melbourne’s west. Where we stand today, here, is the same distance from the CBD as Brunswick. Now in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north, three times as many people use bikes to get to their job as here in Footscray. We know the reason for that. There’s 20,000 truck movements today in my electorate.

You can see a few of them going past us now. And sharing the roads with those trucks, it makes, you know, cyclists that aren’t the sort of the most confident cyclists, aren’t the Lycra-clad legends, you know, families, women, children, are less likely to jump on a bike and do it.

So, we’ve got the vision. We’ve got all three levels of government working together.  And importantly, well, we’ve got all, almost…

ALBANESE: Hopefully.

WATTS: We’ve got all three levels of government. If we can win the next election, we’ll have that crucial catalysing role of a Federal Government that’s actually engaged with this issue, that’s trying to provide some leadership and I’m really thrilled that Albo will be in the seat directing traffic on that project.

ALBANESE: Literally, the two wheel seat.

WATTS: A two wheeler.  Might have to be a cargo bike to fit us all in, mate.  It’s a bit of a bandwagon now. But thank you all for coming down today and, yeah, we’re really looking forward to winning this election and starting work on making Melbourne’s west cycling friendly, a real active transport success story.