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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 216..

MR MULCAHY (continuing):

course, much more. These cyclists range from those who cycle for recreation through to people who rely on or choose to commute by bike right up to competitive sporting cyclists.

The issues that Pedal Power lobby on seek to provide improvements in infrastructure and facilities that benefit all of these groups. I was not surprised to learn in my meeting with Pedal Power that cycling is becoming more and more popular and that the typical demographic of a recreational cyclist is changing. During the January period I spent some time with my family down in Tasmania and I was staggered there also to see the massive growth in cycling. I think it is an Australia-wide development that we are certainly at the forefront of in the ACT.

It is, I was told, becoming more and more popular amongst older residents, even to the stage where it has been called the new golf. The popularity of cycling makes it important that the Assembly supports the community and provides the infrastructure to enable all these people to cycle in safety. I was briefed by representatives from Pedal Power on their submissions for the 2008-09 budget. I will not go into the detail of these projects, as I understand that many members are already aware of them. These projects are not particularly costly and will provide considerable benefit to the Canberra community. As I have said, I will be supporting them.

I have been informed by Pedal Power that the initial response from the government has been positive at a departmental level and I hope that this translates into support for the three projects in the budget. It is certainly an area where I believe a considerable benefit is achieved from a relatively small investment. It is worth considering that with the changing demographic of cyclists that I have referred to there is a potential for Canberra to really market itself as a cyclist friendly city and to attract visitors on cycling holidays. Growth in this area would be enormously beneficial to business in the ACT, particularly given the fact that cycling tourists spend, on average, $258 a day.

Other benefits of cycling speak for themselves. In an age when we regularly hear of an obesity crisis and people not exercising enough, cycling offers an easy way for people to remain active, and this is as true for adults as it is for children. The World Health Organisation said in 2000 that a 30-minute cycle trip a day provides all the exercise you need to halve the chance of becoming obese or diabetic. Similarly, given the state of petrol prices and the impact on family budgets and the shortage of parking that we are experiencing, particularly in the central area of Canberra, cycling offers many people a reliable and cheaper transport option. These are just a couple of examples of the benefits of cycling. Pedal Power is to be commended for its work representing the people of Canberra on these issues. I reiterate that I will be supporting their endeavours.

Let me also take the remaining time just to echo the sentiments of Mr Pratt in relation to the multicultural festival. From his remarks I understood that he was not able to be there due to his being indisposed. On Saturday night I ran into the minister, Mr Hargreaves, in Civic. I was there with members of my family and I took the opportunity to commend him. I said that he certainly would be reasonably entitled to claim some praise and credit for the large numbers. It seemed to me that the numbers were dramatically up on last year. We will hear the statistics in due course, but it was

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