Members of Parliament front up for cycling in Parliament at the first event for the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling in 2021*

Updated 9/4/21

The first event of the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling for 2021 was held in Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday 16 February. Organised and led by We Ride Australia, the Friends of Cycling event focused on the regional economic benefits of cycle tourism as a key economic recovery opportunity.

Above L-R: front Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Julie Owens MP, Dr Helen Haines MP, Hon Mark Coulton MP, Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Bert van Manen MP, Rear: Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, Dave Sharma MP, Stephen Hodge, Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail was featured in presentations and a new video has just been launched with local business owners talking about the benefits for their community. Well done to Bicycle NSW and Rail Trails Australia/NSW for this great little video! See video here:

Over 20,000 people have visited the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail since it opened in April 2020, and the whole region is thriving. Tourists have flocked to the area to soak up the lovely scenery, with many staying multiple nights and spending money in the local stores. To highlight the economic benefits of the Rail Trail to the local community, Bicycle NSW joined forces w Rail Trails Australia & Rail Trails for NSW to produce this video. See more here:

Federal MP and staffers, many from regional electorates, heard some of the key economic stats and facts from experts in the field, our Ministerial Key Note Addresses and from the three Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling group – Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth, Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner and Dr Helen Haines, the Member for Indi.

The Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury and Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities, speaks with Jeff Ibbotson representing Rail Trails Australia.

Key note addresses were provided by Hon. Mark Coulton, the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and the Hon. Mark Dreyfus QC MP who stood in for the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development – locked down in Victoria.

Minister Mark Coulton spoke of the substantial benefits for regional Australia from development of cycle tourism.

The event marks the first in a series of presentations to federal MPs on economic benefits of active travel, cycle tourism, the COVID measures undertaken such as pop up bike lanes, and health and safety for bicycle riders in the lead up to the next Federal Election to be held late in 2021 or 2022.

Front L-R: Co-Chair Dr Helen Haines, Minister Coulton and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus; at rear L-R Co-Chair Dave Sharma, Stephen Hodge and Co-Chair Dr Andrew Leigh.

Key speakers were unfortunately locked down in Victoria, but Rail Trails Australia Vice-President Dr Steven Kaye was able to provide a highly effective short video that was played to the Parliamentarians while Tourism North East (VIC) ensured their contribution on Riding the High Country was conveyed by their federal MP and Co-Chair of the group, Dr Helen Haines.

Above: Dr Steven Kaye, VP of Rail Trails Australia provided a highly focused and informative overview for Parliamentarians from lockdown in Victoria.

Fact sheet on cycle tourism provided at the event, click here.

Above: Stephen Jones with Stephen Hodge. As the member for Whitlam he has a strong interest on the impact of tourism through the 2022 UCI World Titles in Wollongong.


* Feature photograph at top: L-R, Dr Helen Haines MP, Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, Stephen Jones MP, Stephen Hodge, Susan Templeman MP, Dave Sharma MP, Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Julie Owens MP, Christie McBain MP.