16 May 2022

ALP promises big boost for bike paths, Gallagher denies 'panic stations' over progressive vote

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Katy Gallagher, Alicia Payne and Andrew Barr

Labor Senator for the ACT Katy Gallagher was joined by Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Member for Canberra Alicia Payne to announce a $5 million funding boost for cycle paths in the inner north. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

A week out from the election, incumbent Labor Senator for the ACT Katy Gallagher has promised $5 million to build improved cycle paths through the Inner North.

The project would be delivered in partnership with the ACT Government. Before the ACT election, ACT Labor also committed $5 million to cycle paths. Today’s announcement was made alongside Member for Canberra Alicia Payne and Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Senator Gallagher suggested these sorts of jointly funded projects would be the norm under an elected Albanese Government.

“It’s an indication of the government that Anthony Albanese would lead, one wanting to work with the states and territories on the projects they are also working on,” she said.

“That’s something I hope to be part of.”

Julia Gillard

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has, in a rare move, entered the political fray to support Labor Senator Katy Gallagher. Photo: Supplied

Senator Gallagher refuted claims she was in ‘panic stations’ due to the perceived threat from high-profile progressive independent Senate candidate David Pocock, but she encouraged Canberrans not to see her as a ‘sure thing’.

The announcement comes on the heels of a rare statement from former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who described Senator Gallagher as “more than just a good friend to me, she is a strong advocate for the values that matter to Canberrans”.

The entry of two high-profile independents into the race and a strong Greens showing at the last ACT election has created an unusual degree of uncertainty over Canberra’s two Senate seats.

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While much of the attention has been directed towards the attempt to unseat Liberal Senator Zed Seselja, there are indications that the momentum behind the independents is beginning to concern the ALP.

“What our federal parliament needs is more strong, experienced women. And that’s why I believe the choice you face this election matters so much. As a voter living in the ACT, you have the opportunity to make sure we keep one of our best, brightest and strongest women in the Senate”, a statement from the former Prime Minister said.

“That’s why I would encourage you to ask yourself this question before you cast your vote – can I really risk losing someone like Katy from the Senate?”

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Ms Gillard has assiduously avoided engaging in political commentary since losing the Labor leadership to Kevin Rudd in June 2013. Her intervention is a sign that Labor is genuinely concerned about a potential fracture in Senator Gallagher’s previously unassailable margin.

Senator Gallagher today said she believed there was a “real race on”, but it wasn’t between Senator Seselja and Mr Pocock, which she claimed had been the narrative for much of the campaign.

“I think there’s a very strong view that ‘I am safe’, and therefore, people think ‘I can go and vote elsewhere’, and I don’t think that’s the case.”

Bike path

The Garden City Cycle Route would mirror the popular path which runs along the western side of Northbourne Avenue. Photo: File.

The Garden City Cycle Route, announced today, is expected to cover over 5 km through the suburbs of Watson, Downer, Dickson, Ainslie, Braddon and the city.

Senator Gallagher said the project, which will include a mix of off-road shared paths and protected on-road cycle lanes, would make it easier and safer for cyclists to get around Canberra’s north.

“It means fewer cars on the road, and people can have more options to cycle and be active when they are getting around the city,” she said.

The route is close to 17,000 homes along the rapidly growing inner north corridor – an area the Territory Government says has an overall growth capacity of 37,000 new dwellings.

Member for Canberra Alicia Payne said the news would be welcomed by the capital’s cyclists – of which there are many.

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the funding promise from his federal counterparts was in “marked contrast to the best part of the last decade” when the Federal Government had either not provided adequate funding to the ACT or had put forward infrastructure projects which did not align with the Territory’s goals.

“It’s a practical example of the two levels of government being able to work together,” he said.

Mr Barr said the additional funding would mean a pool of “up to” $10 million could be allocated to the project, but noted final costings wouldn’t be available until after completion of the feasibility study.

“To the extent that there is an offset, that will enable the ACT Government to move forward with another project,” he said.

The ACT Government put a feasibility study out to tender in February indicating preliminary sketch plans would be completed by June 2023.

A construction tender is expected by next year’s Budget with work to commence in the 2023-24 fiscal year.

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These used to be called shared paths. but the bike rider mentality has won. You are either a cyclist or an enemy of the state.

Who might ride bikes, not anyone with kids or a family otherwise they wouldn’t have the time.

Much money was promised to fix lake Tuggeranong and sports grounds around the south. However it always seems to go missing. Somehow we can have a zillion apartments pop up but the budget for infrastructure is always underspent. That doesn’t mean we get a surplus its just ‘gone’.

Federal Labor spending 2.5 million (or at least talking the talk) on a shared path.. seems more like an expensive photoshoot of Albo holding a shovel.

The comments section in the RiotAct are atrocious. Hateful greedy selfish trolls.

You’re no doubt right about discussion board comments being full of Hateful greedy selfish trolls.

But I also read plenty of comments seeking a fairer distribution of election funds to match the areas and populations of need.

Unfortunately Labor has been splashing the election cash into inner Canberra and has ignored the struggling outer areas where there’s less voter bang for buck. (BTW I’ve now live in inner Canberra, but know what it used to be like in the under supported areas).

Labor dumping the Calwell netball facility for the cycle path, reminds me of a mate in the ACT public service who said that funding identified to repair a long neglected Kambah sports area under a Healthy Living initiative many years ago, was ‘re-directed’ by the Minister to a city outdoor gym and fitness station facility closer to Civic. An outdoor gym that he or I have never seen used by a single person for proper exercising. He still ribs me about it. These projects are politician play things.

It amazes me that Federal Labor in conjunction with ACT Labor could dump their previous commitment to build a much indoor netball facility at Calwell and instead re-channel the funds to build yet more inner-north cycling infrastructure.

This decision is obviously based on electioneering, rather than need. Labor complains about pork barrelling, but they’re as bad as the Libs when it comes to providing funds and infrastructure into the locations that help you on Election Day.

Canberra netballers should be on Facebook and email bombarding their local members with complaints. Unfortunately the girls of the netball community don’t carry the same political clout of the male middle aged cyclists.

More bang for their buck in trying to lure back votes leaking to the Greens/Pocock in the inner North.

It is truly funny to hear the politicians complain about a lack of integrity and pork barrelling when they are all doing exactly the same thing.

Yep agree on that one Chewy. People rightly complain about the big business lobbyists who get funding to suit them, but they consistently ignore the lobby groups who manage to snag for key areas (usually inner city wealthy areas) a new bike path, Free EV charging site, Playground, Croquet club, Park and recreation upgrade, etc etc.

I just can’t believe ACT Labor would dump an election promise for much needed facilities in long suffering Tuggeranong and go for yet another inner north project.

Oh, Katy’s suddenly remembered she is supposed to be doing something for her constituents has she? Vote her out. Let’s get someone in place who cares for more than their own personal gain.

Sorry I’ll need someone to “mansplain” this to be, I just a stupid male voter.

Katy is not out of touch with Canberra.
Canberra is out of touch with Katy.
Hospitals, no. Schools, no. Aged care, no. Affordable housing, no. Bicycle paths, yes.
Katy knows what our real concerns are, so this will get back those straying progressive votes from that Pocock upstart.

There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it

Sarcasm aside, most people are struggling with everyday issues like living costs, hospital waiting times, schools etc and the ALP Senator offers up $5,000,000 for bike paths in the inner north! Seriously?

Katy, $5,000,000 for bike paths for the inner North. Anything for Tuggeranong? I guess not.

Sarcasm aside, most people are struggling with everyday issues like living costs, hospital waiting times, schools etc and the ALP Senator offers up $5,000,000 for bike paths in the inner north! Seriously?

Katy is great value at $248000 pa.

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