WeRide 2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission
WeRide has kicked off the year by lodging a 2024-25 federal Budget Submission.
The Submission has proposals covering tax breaks and incentives, national investment for kids, infrastructure investment, a national memorandum across all key portfolios and a new national active transport plan. It complements the work we do organising the Parliamentary Friends of Cycling group, our national projects like the Australian Cycling and e-Scooter Economy Report and the Cycling Luminaries Awards program.
We reached out to the state and territory bicycle organisations and WeRide allies to sense check our ideas and get feedback.
The result of this work were seven proposals.
- First, legislation to exempt e-bikes from fringe benefits tax – which would make it tax effective to buy a commuting bike and put us on an equal footing with the legislation introduced last year for electric cars.
- Second, we asked Government to bring back the exemption from the 5% import tariff that applies to e-bikes. Currently, our free trade agreements mean that many of the best quality bikes from Europe and the US are the ones subject to this tariff.
- Our third call was for a national initiative to create healthy futures for primary aged children – a national approach to bicycle education and an infrastructure program for better paths and crossings around schools.
- A schools’ program is something we have all called for in the past and we are working on with the RideScore trial.
- The targeted infrastructure investment around schools is a call we made in the last election in partnership with the Australasian Society for Physical Activity in our Three Transport Priorities document.
- Our fourth proposal is a national policy that requires all federally funded transport projects to provide for walking and cycling. Some states, like NSW, already make this mandatory.
- We have also said active transport funding should rise as a proportion of all transport funding to 20% by 2030.
- Our fifth proposal is the establishment of a dedicated cycling infrastructure fund covering both the paths around schools as well as networks to access local shops and centres to give real options to go by bike.
- This should be much easier as half of all trips in this country every day are just 5km or less and an incredible third are just 3km or less – local trips that could easily be accomplished by bike and walking if it was more convenient, attractive and safer.
- We know from research by Dr Lauren Pearson at Monash Uni that an amazing three quarters of people would consider riding a bike with better conditions!
- One of the problems we face with cycling is that the benefits extend across health, transport, environment, liveability and into the regions with cycle tourism! This often makes us to easy to dismiss as it is someone else’s issue. Our sixth proposal is a national Memorandum of Understanding that recognises the co-benefits of active transport and drives consideration of walking and cycling across the portfolio areas of transport, health, climate change and the PM’s department which has a NetZero Authority.
- Lastly, we called for a national active transport plan with cycling mode share and decarbonisation targets to drive investment to boost walking and cycling.
What happens next?
When a Budget is put together by the government, each Minister fights for their proposals all the way to the Expenditure Review Committee, commonly called the ‘Razor Gang’! Our Pre-Budget submission is one of many they receive and we actively follow it up with advocacy activities in Parliament.
But it is important in a few critical ways.
- If the government is already considering something similar, then this submission may give them the confidence to go with our proposal/s,
- the submission is a clear blueprint about what the bicycle sector wants and why, it sends the signal of what our ongoing agenda is for the year ahead.
- Lastly, it gives our members and all of our stakeholders a chance to understand what we believe is needed to make riding a bike in Australia easier, more attractive and safer for us all.
As always, there is already a lot of work underway for 2024, so if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us or drop us a line.
We are committed to what we do because Australia’s a greener, healthier, better place to be when more people are riding bikes.