Here's my effort to get HarbourLink built -- and the response.
Dear Mr Albanese,
I am writing in support of federal funding for the HarbourLink project.
I am a resident of Rozelle in Sydney, and a regular cyclist. I ride to work most days.
I also ride on weekends to my mother's house in Mosman, across the Anzac Bridge, through the city and over the Harbour Bridge.
Being middle-aged and not particularly fit, with reflexes not what they once were, I steer clear of roads with heavy traffic on them. I stick to bike paths and back roads wherever I can. Getting through North Sydney to Falcon Street and then Mosman is thus something of a challenge.
It seems to me that my North Sydney problem is shared by many residents on this northern side of the Harbour. I also can see that the HarbourLink proposal put forward by North Sydney Council and various other groups solves that problem at a stroke.
The existing cycle path on the western side of the Harbour Bridge is good as far as it goes, but once on the north shore, it ends in a flight of 55 steps. Imagine if the Bradfield Highway ended in a flight of steps. You can't, obviously, because it would be an absurdity, depriving the bridge of its basic function. The present cycleway is no less absurd.
The HarbourLink project would remove this absurdity and make cycling attractive to many more people from across the lower north shore, perhaps beyond. Cycling is more than just a fast and convenient means of transport for short trips. In one activity it combats many of this world's present day ills: obesity (alas not terribly effectively in my case), depression, pollution, the greenhouse effect will do to start with, but the list is much longer. Yet in NSW it is - scandalously, in my view - neglected in the roads budget. We must therefore look to Canberra.
I urge you to consider this excellent project for federal funding.
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Mr Christopher Henning
Dear Mr Henning
Thank you for your email dated 3 December 2008 about the City of Sydney submissions to Infrastructure Australia on the Inner Sydney Cycle network. I apologise for the delay in replying.
As you would be aware, Infrastructure Australia has been tasked with providing advice to government on major nationally significant infrastructure and related issues. A national audit conducted by Infrastructure Australia, designed to inform their Infrastructure Priority List, has recently been concluded. As part of the audit process, Infrastructure Australia consulted widely and considered submissions form all spheres of government, industry and the community. A copy of the naitional audit is available at .
Following assessment by Infrastructure Australia, the Inner Sydney Cycle network was not listed for further evaluation and prioritisation.
However, an alternative source of funding which may be available for this type of project is the $300 million Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. This program provides funding to local governments to build and improve community infrastructure, support local jobs and stimulate local economies during this period of severe global financial crisis.
Of the $300 million allocated to this program, $250 million will be provided in 2008-09 in the form of one-off payments. The City of Sydney and the 15 collaborating Inner Sydney Councils will have received a total one-off funding in 2008-09 under this program of $5.202 million. These funds will be available for ready-to-proceed community infrastructure projects and for additional stages of projects that are currently underway.
An additional $50 million is available in 2008-09 to local government for larger-scale community infrastructure to help deliver an additional investment into local economies and communities. This program has been made available for larger projects on a competitive basis for local governments seeking a minimum Commonwealth contribution of $2 million.
All councils and groups of councils were eligible to apply. Applications have now closed and are currently being assessed. Further information on the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program can be found at .
I note that the proposed Inner Sydney Cycle network, which crosses over 15 Inner Sydney Councils, is supported by those councils and also by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). I would encourage you to raise with the City of Sydney that they, and the 15 other Inner City Councils, consider contributing funds from their allocation under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program to enaable the project to proceed. In addition, the RTA may also be in a position to contribute to the project.
Thank you for raising with me your support for the HarbourLink porposal and for participating in the Rudd Governemnt’s long term efforts to fix and modernise the nation’s critical infrastructure.