Sunday, 26 August 2012
Fallout from the mysterious loss of VIC's bike budget
There has been a chorus of dissent and disappointment when the Ted Ballieu Liberal/National government of Victoria cut the bicycle infrastructure budget to zero dollars in June 2012, from its previous +$40m in 2011. Individual cyclists, groups, and Bike Victoria were incredulous. BV went as far as correcting the press release where the government falsely claims it was still spending some new money. While the government is spending millions on seeing if it can implement new road schemes (Alexandra Parade is being test drilled for a tunnel), it could not apparently find $41m to renew the funding for bike infrastructure improvements. The great thing is that Bike Victoria (now Bicycle Network Victoria, which is a silly name), which is usually not exactly critical of government policy given the range of links they have with government agencies, came out in strong protest, particularly organising a large rally in the CBD of Melbourne on June 21st 2012. They organised several protests (yes - protests organised by BV!!!). The result has been some weakening of the government's position, possibly with a rethink on actually meeting their commitment to fund the troublesome Gipps St crossing of the Yarra River in Abbotsford, which received a special protest all of its own on July 29 2012.