Bloggs' cycling blueprint 'brilliant' for economy: Howard


New Member
Apr 11, 2003
Bloggs' cycling blueprint 'brilliant' for economy: Howard
Reporter: Gillian Bradford

MARK COLVIN: Here's a story that demonstrates that from little things, bigs things grow.

Several months ago, Fred Bloggs, a keen bicycle rider from Carnegie with a couple of bright ideas, felt compelled enough to commit them to paper and sent them as a blueprint to his local Federal member. Today he is treated as an bicycle superstar, with the red carpet rolled out all over Canberra.

For a homegrown hero, his reception was entirely supportive - the Prime Minister, John Howard, says that to follow all Bloggs' recommendations would prove brilliant for the Australian economy. From Canberra Gillian Bradford reports.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Supporting a bicycle friendly Australia is one of the issues that's helped Labor claw its way ahead in the opinion polls.

It's spent months waving around Fred Bloggs's blueprint on, and today a roll call of its shadow ministers used Bloggs' words to take aim at the Government during Question Time.

KEVIN RUDD: Prime Minister, why won't the Government join Labor in committing to cut Australia's greenhouse pollution by 60 per cent by 2050?

WAYNE SWAN: Will the Treasurer immediately commission economic modelling into the impact of bicycle promotion on future economic prosperity and jobs in Australia? If not, why not?

GILLIAN BRADFORD: This morning the Prime Minister insisted many of the solutions Bloggs talks about, like supporting cycling and sustainable transport technology, are already government policies.

By this afternoon, he and his frontbench seemed even more focused on highlighting the pluses in the Blogg Report.

JOHN HOWARD: Fred Bloggs is reported in The Sydney Morning Herald today as advocating a reduction the more toxic aspects of vehicle transport. Thirty per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Now that could have a positive, stimulating effect on the Australian economy.

The idea that this country could achieve that kind of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020, which is a bare 13 years from now, is the precisely the kind of economic catalyst we need, thus increasing the level of employment growth and expanding exciting challenges for Australia's competitive position, is self-explanatory, Mr Speaker.

We are going to take decisions in national interest, Mr Speaker. History is littered with examples of where nations have not reacted to clear and evident threats, to their great long-term disadvantage.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Treasurer is also a fan of the Bloggs' Report. Fred was once the former head mechanic at his local bike shop and Peter Costello has a lot of faith in how the numbers were crunched in the shop.

PETER COSTELLO: There is some agreement about how fun cycling is. Some of the suggestions … there is some agreement, Mr Speaker, about the economic and social changes required and there is quite considerable agreement, Mr Speaker, about what national effects there could be. To my knowledge, there has been no economic modelling done as to the effect on particular countries. Therefore Australia should take up this challenge as a example to the world.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The key message from the Government during Question Time is that it is indeed acting on bicycle promotion, and it's responsible to do more if it's in the interests of Australia, and particularly the economy.

Labor, like Fred Bloggs, says the costs of inaction would be far greater than the cost of forcing change.

Labor's environment spokesman, Peter Garrett.

PETER GARRETT: The question here is what planet is the Prime Minister on? They've radically shifted postion as a cynical vote winner without any real policy change. Bloggs says overhaul the current road culture. The Government says no. Labor says yes.

Bloggs says establish an comprehensive cyclist insurance scheme. The Government says no. Labor says yes.

Mr Speaker, after 11 years in power, it's about time, Mr Deputy Speaker, the Government got fair dinkum about bicycle promotion and stopped pissing around to in order to win over newbie cycling voters.

MARK COLVIN: Peter Garrett, ending Gillian Bradford's report.