Recently Pedal Power ACT’s Advocacy Team met with Dr Jennifer Rayner, the Chief Minister’s Director of Budget and Economic Policy.
We aimed to outline the priorities we consider important in the 2018 – 19 ACT Budget if the ACT is to achieve the targets it has set to get more Canberrans walking and riding.
During our constructive discussion Pedal Power ACT pointed out the trend in recent budgets that shows a reduced annual budget allocation on cycling from $18 m to $10 m.
We highlighted how relatively modest expenditure on fixing missing links, fully funding current projects and prioritising separated cycling facilities will get a wider range of people cycling.
We also stressed that the maintenance of existing paths is another important area that has been seriously underfunded in recent years.
A concerning point of disagreement was the meaning of ‘additional funding’ in the Parliamentary Agreement between Labor and the Greens. The agreement from 2016 promised an additional $30million for cycling infrastructure and promotion over four years.
Pedal Power ACT regards ‘additional’ spending to mean ‘more than was spent previously’. The government seems to interpret ‘additional’ as meaning ‘any spending on new initiatives’, rather than an increase on base levels.
Clearly at Pedal Power ACT we will have increase our efforts to convince the government that ‘additional’ means ‘increased’.