9 February 2022

Greens MLA hits back at Chief Minister: $2000 for an e-bike is a financial burden for some

| Lottie Twyford
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Jo Clay

ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay hit out at the Chief Minister’s comments, saying he’s out of touch with what is affordable for Canberrans. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT Greens say Chief Minister Andrew Barr is out of touch with what low-income Canberrans may be able to afford to spend on sustainable travel options such as an e-bike.

In question time, ACT Greens spokesperson for transport and active travel Jo Clay asked Chief Minister Andrew Barr why e-bikes were not included in the ACT Government’s sustainable household loan scheme. The scheme provides interest-free loans between $2000 and $15,000 so Canberrans can buy items like solar panels or electric cars for low-income, means-tested households.

Ms Clay wants the government to consider adding e-bikes to the scheme as they are a sustainable transport option which would suit many Canberrans looking to “do the right thing by the climate”.

But Mr Barr argued there was no need to add e-bikes to the scheme as “there are literally dozens of e-bikes available for well below” the scheme’s minimum loan of $2000.

“Access to capital is not a major barrier to purchasing an e-bike. You can buy an e-bike for less than $1000, and you can certainly buy a wide range of e-bikes for between $1000 and $2000, all of which fall below the minimum loan amount of the scheme,” Mr Barr said.

Andrew Barr in the legislative assembly

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the sustainable household scheme won’t include e-bikes. Photo: Region Media.

But Ms Clay refuted this. She said $2000 is a major barrier for many Canberrans “despite what Andrew Barr believes”, and she argued there aren’t many good e-bikes on the market for less than $2000.

“If you’re a student, someone on welfare, or if you work part time, you may not be able to afford the upfront payment of an e-bike or e-cargo bike.

“Andrew Barr said that access to capital is not a major barrier to purchasing an e-bike, but to many people, it is a barrier. E-bikes are a great way of replacing a car or the second family car. But to get reliable transport, you might need an e-bike with a longer range battery, or an e-cargo bike that can carry the shopping or a couple of kids. These cost more than $2000,” she explained.

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Mr Barr said the government would not consider lowering the minimum loan amount.

“An individual who can’t raise $2000 may have difficulty paying a loan back, so we have to be very wary of the type of loan arrangements that we put people into in that context for such small amounts of a loan. That is a concern.

“We’re looking to provide support for capital intensive items that have 10-year paybacks so reducing the loan amount below $2000 is not something we would consider,” Mr Barr said.

But the Chief Minister did say the government would continue to evaluate the products available on the scheme. Electric cars were only added to the scheme last December.

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Just mention the Greens and it gets those Liberal Party staffers worked up into a lather!!! I’m not a Greenie but it must be tough being Green!

OMG how out-of-touch are the Greens???
If you cannot afford a $2,000 e-bike, how about “settling” for a $200 NORMAL bike?
I wonder what PEDAL POWER really thinks of this stunt? Greens are sooo lazy that they don’t even want to pedal a bike, but do want the state to pay for their laziness.

An e-cargo bike (which tend to cost well over $2000 is for many a sufficient replacement for a car. A $200 regular bike is a sufficient replacement for a car for relatively few (probably just students)

Mr Barr is 100% right.
“An individual who can’t raise $2000 may have difficulty paying a loan back….”

Put simply you don’t lend money to people who can’t demonstrate a capacity to save.

It’s a pity Mr Barr had to point that out to his Greens coalition partner.

Rather than trying to secure loans for e-bikes for students and people on welfare, maybe the Greens representative could suggest they buy a MyWay card and catch the bus or maybe even that very expensive Light Rail, that we are all paying for?

Generally yes, though not always the case. It doesn’t factor in that the person unable to save may be unable to do so due to having excess costs that the provision of the loan would alleviate.

For example: A $2000 loan for an e-bike might mean that person no longer requires a car for weekly shopping, thus reducing their rego/insurance/petrol costs by $2500 a year. Likewise, someone given $600,000 to buy a house and paying back $1700 a month on a mortgage actually has more savings than that same person spending $2000 a month on rent.

Finagen_Freeman6:59 am 11 Feb 22

Deep breath here. Barr is making assumptions. ‘May have difficulty’
No different to borrowing $10k and possibly defaulting on that. Over ten years circumstances can change.
I’d suggest ‘may’ is an unfounded statement, and opening up e-transport includes bikes.
Let them apply for the $2k amount and be judged on the same criteria as everyone else applying for the scheme.

Capital Retro8:30 am 11 Feb 22

If someone can’t keep up their bike repayments you call in the repo man. (repo person?)

No one does their weekly shop on a bike, powered or pedal. The greens tried that when the Gungahlin market place was first being built by suggesting they provide only the minimal car parks to encourage bikes and walkers. Thank god we were smarter in those days and didn’t vote many of them in.

Yes, there are many situations where granting loans can reduce commitments. Consolidating high interest loans into cheaper finance/ stretching repayment terms etc, although this type of lending comes with a higher default risk.

The Greens representative of course was talking about interest free financing for the purchase of an e-bike. If someone needed an e-bike to save on the standing costs (rego and insurance) and operating costs of car ownership, the obvious solution would be to sell their car and pay for the e-bike outright.

There is policy and credit criteria attached to every type of loan and these loans are no different.

The designers of this scheme appear to have determined that home owners, who want solar panels or batteries and people who want EVs, are people they want to attract.
I would imagine that these purchase items were selected because they are higher cost items, meaning that the applicants would have equity or skin in the purchase or other assets, such as a home onto which solar panels are being installed.

Having skin in the purchase, reduces the risk profile, in comparison to a borrower who doesn’t.

Of course it must be remembered that the Greens representative was seeking access to the scheme for low income and welfare recipients for the purchase of e-bikes. Probably not the target market.

No one!!! I go to the market and do a major part of my shopping by bike. No one!!!

Capital Retro8:20 am 12 Feb 22

I hope this green financial adventure is more uneventful than this government’s last one:

https://the-riotact.com/it-took-8-million-in-consultants-fees-to-bury-rhodium-at-a-crossroad/30491

How about the Greens transport spokesperson raise the plight of the low income Canberrans in the outer suburbs who lost their Bus services thanks to her Government.

The ACT Greens talk a great game on reduced housing costs, rent hikes and better bus services. But surely any honest analysis would show these areas have got worse for low income Canberrans over the last few election cycles that the Greens have been in power. Less talk, more action required.

You really need to go and talk to Ms Clay. She is a real talent and has spoken strongly on the issue of the folk who are living in transport poverty.

I’m glad she’s speaking about these issues around transport poverty, but when you’re in Government like she is, you have to actually take ‘action’ and improve things, not just say a few nice words.

In 2019 her party removed over 700 bus stops across Canberra, mainly from poorer people in the outer suburbs. Fixing your own mistakes might be a good place to start.

Like I said, go and talk to her. She behaves like the cross-bencher she is, eg her road safety amendments that Steel and a conga line of previous Ministers had been dodging for ever.

Contrary to what the Greens and their deluded supporters imagine, e-bikes do not run on sunshine, rainbows and fairy dust. E-bikes are powered by a rechargable lithium battery, (which does not last forever), with an electric motor (containing magnets and wiring) that turns energy from the battery into mechanical power to move the bike. The e-bike is built with metal and plastic parts like frame, throttles, wheels, tubing, gears, shells, sensors, stators, rotors, controllers, capacitators, connectors and clutch. A lot of energy goes into extracting and manufacturing all that metal and plastic that makes up now millions of e-bikes. Sorry to break the news, but you are not saving the planet or stopping climate change when you next smugly flit around on an e-bike, just adding to the profits of another Chinese factory. If ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay is genuinely concerned about low income Canberras she should encourge walking, running and cycling as being far more healthy and beneficial activities.

Have you considered comparing e-bikes with things other than walking, running and cycling? If the Greens et al do not encourage these, why do we have so many walking / cycling paths and cycling lanes?
To quote the article: “E-bikes are a great way of replacing a car or the second family car.”
On the other hand, the words walk, run, or cycle do not appear.
Anyone might think you were merely running away from the point.

Acton said, “E-bikes are powered by a rechargable lithium battery, (which does not last forever), with an electric motor (containing magnets and wiring) that turns energy from the battery into mechanical power to move the bike. The e-bike is built with metal and plastic parts like frame, throttles, wheels, tubing, gears, shells, sensors, stators, rotors, controllers, capacitators, connectors and clutch.”
E-bikes take a lot less material and energy to build than a car, either electric (which the loan can be used for) or a petrol car.
No logic at all in your comment; only prejudice, because you don’t like bikes or the Greens. Add some comparative logic next time to alternatives; the alternative is a car, whether it is electric or fuel driven. A lot more metal in that, a lot more energy to make it. But that’s okay isn’t it Acton; car good, bike bad!

If you think that “E-bikes are a great way of replacing a car or the second family car” then try using one for your weekly grocery shopping or taking the family to Bateman’s Bay.

But I never said that I thought that, Acton. I observed that you were furiously avoiding the thrust of the article and now you are diligently avoiding the point of my reply.
Avoidance is your strategy because you have no argument to make.

Acton,
You were the one comparing them to running, walking or cycling.

Perhaps have a think about how some people might be able to use an ebike but aren’t able to walk, run or cycle longer distances.

Then have a think about how one of the main alternatives to an eBike for these types of people would be another car.

Got it yet?

Acton, what about your comment “E-bikes are powered by a rechargable lithium battery, (which does not last forever), with an electric motor (containing magnets and wiring) that turns energy from the battery into mechanical power to move the bike. The e-bike is built with metal and plastic parts like frame, throttles, wheels, tubing, gears, shells, sensors, stators, rotors, controllers, capacitators, connectors and clutch.””

I’m waiting for you to explain how an e-bike uses more energy and material than a car. That was your comment and I’m still waiting for you to explain why that is so. Must be, because you never mentioned what a car uses.
You are changing the subject without explaining the above. However, heard of cargo bikes?

You just hate bikes. We get it, and so won’t even consider them. You won’t consider any advantages of e-bikes, the less energy and material needed to build and run them compared to a car, the exercise (yes there is some exercise involved, even if less than with a conventional bike), you won’t consider that the whole world is not you, and not everyone will find the use of one too difficult. No, because YOU don’t want one, the exercise, you bring up all sorts of excuses against them, most of them not true. You are not everyone. Even if you don’t want one, allow others to have them, without giving mistruths about them.

Finagen_Freeman7:02 am 11 Feb 22

…and it would appear they like to run wild with their list of parts. A list equally valid when listing houses with plastics. Maybe he thinks caves are a better alternative.

The biggest roadblock to this for me is the lack of secure storage options. A $2000+ bike is to vulnerable to tie to a post on the sidewalk, and not every office is suited to park a bike in the corner.

You can get folding e-bikes for under $1500.

But they still need to be stored somewhere. Many offices don’t have sufficient space to store these for more than a couple of staff.

Capital Retro8:53 am 10 Feb 22

“e-bikes to help the climate”?

I wish the Greens would revert to tree-hugging and avoid the ratbag narrative as we are seeing here.

BTW, aren’t e-bikes made of CARBON-fibre?

Obviously you are just trying to be annoying, but carbon fibre would be sequestering carbon, not releasing CO2. E-bikes are unlikely to be made of carbon anyway, though, as there is little incentive to be super light when you are carrying a heavy battery and have an electric motor to help you along.

I get you Capital Retro. E-bikes use much more energy and more materials than any car has ever used. And how wasteful are E-bikes of all those hectares of sealed car parks. Can’t waste those car parks. We need cars to fill them, and E-bikes aren’t as efficient as cars at doing that. So keep up the criticism of anything that isn’t a car. Nothing must change.

Capital Retro11:00 pm 10 Feb 22

Not everyone is physically capable of mounting a bike.

Nor is everyone physically capable of driving a car, what’s your point?

Capital Retro6:18 pm 11 Feb 22

If you are physically unable to to drive a car you legally can’t.

Not only that but if you stand on an elephant you are on top of an elephant, although a straw poll informs me that not everyone wants to stand on an elephant.
jam could repeat everything after their comma.

I really want to see who these people are who can’t physically mount a bike yet still somehow manage to do it because it’s legal.

I mean, that’s the only reason why CR would have mentioned it right?

Capital Retro wrote, “Not everyone is physically capable of mounting a bike.”

So why should that then mean others can’t. Why argue to deny others the right to have an e-bike. A side benefit for you is less cars on the road.

Capital Retro7:03 am 12 Feb 22

I don’t know why you brought elephants into this discussion. Maybe you have been sipping the fermented juice of the marula tree too.

Capital Retro, some e-bikes are made of carbon fibre. Expect to pay big bucks for those. I have an e-bike – the frame is made in Taiwan and is steel. It is then shipped to Germany. The front suspension is Italian. All other components are German, including the 85nm Bosch motor. I ride it for enjoyment, but as you can see from countries where my parts come from – there’s freight, masses of diesel fuel to transport by truck and ship, plus the mining to dig up lithium for my 1125wh batteries. When it is standing still, not charging – well I guess it is green

Futureproof, wrote, “there’s freight, masses of diesel fuel to transport by truck and ship, plus the mining to dig up lithium for my 1125wh batteries.”

Cars are also imported, and they take up more space and weigh more, so your argument applies even more to cars.

“When it is standing still, not charging – well I guess it is green ”
Actually, Futureproof, the more you use it the greener it is. Standing still not charging is a sunk cost unutilised.

By the way, CR, elephants don’t ride bikes either, yet e-bikes are useful. I think you are confusing yourself with your false logic.

Capital Retro4:30 pm 12 Feb 22

You said I was critisizing bikes without considering than not everyone can ride one.

Capital Retro4:32 pm 12 Feb 22

It appears you hate anything that isn’t a bike, Maya.

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