We're excited to share with you the progress we've made in our recent meetings with key New South Wales politicians. Our advocacy efforts are gaining momentum, and we're at the forefront of conversations that will shape the future of our streets. These conversations are pivotal in encouraging our politicians to make decisions that ensure streets are not just roads but vibrant community spaces.
Regular Engagements with Minister Haylen's Office
We've successfully established a regular quarterly meeting with Minister Haylen's office, the Transport Minister. Our most recent discussion was both productive and promising. We delved into the potential of launching an active travel to schools program for NSW. This initiative is close to our heart as it not only promotes healthy and safe access for our children but also reduces traffic congestion during peak school hours. We provided a range of options for a program in the short to long term, and examples of successful pilot projects throughout NSW.
Furthermore, we discussed setting mode share targets and provided advice on rallying community support for the Oxford Street streetscape upgrade and cycleway in Paddington.
Meeting with Dr Marjorie O'Neil MP
Our advocacy for active travel to schools found a passionate supporter in Dr Marjorie O'Neil MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport. As with Haylen's office we provided further insights on this topic and gave practical advice on how such a program would roll out to councils and schools. Joining us in this meeting was Safe Streets for Schools, along with members experienced in Sydney's Northern Beaches and Eastern suburbs. Their insights and experiences added depth to our discussions, ensuring a holistic approach with practical advice.
Workshop with Transport for NSW
In collaboration with Bicycle NSW and BIKEast, we participated in a workshop led by Transport for NSW on the Oxford Street streetscape upgrade and cycleway. Our role was to guide them on collaborating with us and our coalition members to rally community support. We also provided feedback on the proposed street design layout and offered suggestions on framing messaging and timing for maximum impact.
Upcoming Meeting with John Graham
We're scheduled to meet with John Graham, Minister for Roads and Arts, this week. We're eager to discuss our vision and gain his insights on roads, outdoor dining and the 24 hour economy.
One of our core purposes at Better Streets is to consistently engage with key decision-makers and politicians in government. We believe in supporting them in making bold and necessary steps to improve streets for people. Our goal is to ensure that our streets are not just thoroughfares but spaces where communities thrive.
Thank you for being a part of this journey. Together, we can make our streets better for everyone.
Better Streets representatives met with Minister Stokes to discuss our five key asks. Whilst Stokes will not be running for the upcoming state election, he emphasised that any future minister needs to retain “active transport” in their title to ensure that there is a voice in cabinet. Hopefully one day this won’t be needed, however in our current environment we still need a minister to champion active transport and better streets.
We also discussed the important co-benefits for health and climate change action, because walking and cycling are key in helping us achieve net zero and healthy, connected communities.
Better Streets emphasised that one of our roles is to give politicians at all three levels of government, and whichever party they may represent, the assurance that our community and alliance members want these changes for better streets: active travel to schools, safer traffic speeds, more pedestrian crossings, improved streetscapes to support local businesses, and safe cycleways.
Minister Stokes' office confirmed that the current Government has committed $1.2 billion to active transport projects this year and over the next three years, including through grants to councils and as part of the delivery of major projects such as Metro and motorway projects. This would bring the NSW Government’s total spending on active transport to more $2 billion between 2014-15 and 2026-27.
We are continuing to meet with politicians in the lead up to the NSW election.
Photo source: Twitter @RobStokesMP