CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

News — October–November 2003

Feature: The Energy Paradigm Shift

Why are we still pouring money into roads, when we are facing a high risk of world oil production peaking? Danny Hannan ponders on the energy challenges we are facing, and what we should do about it.

Full Article

Read Background on Oil Peak

Rides and Events Coming Up

Why Cycling makes Good Sense
A talk by former UK Transport Minister and current Chair of the UK National Cycling Strategy Board Steven Norris
6pm on Thursday 16 October
Department of Infrastructure Planning & Natural Resources (Heny
Deane Place, opposite Railway Square)
More Info: Andrew Cole, 9762 8036

Sydney to Wollongong Ride
2nd November

RTA Cycle Sydney
30th November
Call 1800 68 68 54
More Info

Bike Week Celebrations

Bike Week in Sydney's West was jammed with great events.

Parramatta Heritage Ride: 43 riders, including many children, with little advertising.

Parramatta Ride to Work:

Bay to Mountains Ride: Around 200 riders, with two difficulty levels, and 40 Km of off-road cycleways!

See full descriptions below, and make sure you don't miss the celebrations next year.

Ride to Work Day

On 23rd September many workers in the Parramatta area dusted off their bikes and discovered the joys of cycling to work: it’s fun, relaxing, easy, and safe. Delifrance at Parramatta Mall kindly provided a free breakfast for all riders. Also thanks to Eva Martinez from Parramatta Council for her work on this event.

See Also: Cycling to Work, interviews with commuters.

Parramatta Heritage Ride

CAMWEST's Heritage Ride on 28th September around Parramatta was a resounding success with 43 riders (having done very little advertising) taking part on the 17km gentle circuit around the historic sites of the local area. The target of novice riders was met with at least 15 children and a number of adults that didn't ride much attending. We enjoyed Parramatta's rich history, visiting the well known sites, and learning about some obscure but interesting others.

A special mention should be made of the very able commentary of Paul Bowyer and the efforts he made to research the history we were looking at.

We are hoping to run this ride every year, and to produce a self-guided ride tour that people could download. Make sure you come next year!

M4 Cycleway Progress

The new cycleway between Fox Street underpass Merrylands & Adderley St Auburn is open to cycling traffic and of course pedestrians. This now complete a missing link and removes 3 obstacles:

Connecting links have been provided to link in with the Parramatta Liverpool Rail trail, on road cycle facilities down Adderley St connecting into Homebush Bay cycle paths & on road facilities down to Auburn. Thackeray St bridge crossing can now be completely bi-passed! Major construction work was also undertaken at the Duck River crossing, James Ruse Drive & Carlingford rail line. CAMWEST will soon ride these new sections and produce a safety audit.

Prospect Canal Cycleway Complete!

The new section of the cycleway through Prospect Reservoir is now open to the public. This means that the full length from the Rail Trail
at Guildford to Prospect and on to Fairfield City Farm is open. Well done to the RTA! CAMWEST is looking at organising a bike ride to showcase this new infrastructure. Thanks to Rolf Lunsmann (RTA) for photos and his work to improve cycling infrastructure.

Bay to Mountains Ride — 200 Riders

Two hundred cyclists took to the streets of South-West Sydney last Sunday to celebrate the start of Bike Week. CAMWEST's Bay to Mountains Community ride is a concept we have been working on for many years now, and it was great to see it develop. The 40 Km ride led by CAMWEST involved 40 Kms along off-road cycleways, a great testament of how much has been achieved by councils and groups like CAMWEST.

The involvement of Police and St John Ambulance was a huge help. Three local bike shops donated some prizes (Fulcher's Cyclery, Chipping Norton, Sydney Bicycle Centre – Fairfield Heights, Wetherill Park Cycles - Bonnyrigg). Fairfield City Farm hosted a refreshments brake with free icecreams for riders, and LJ Hooker loaned their marquee for lunch.

We'd like to thank Fairfield Council for their support and commitment to the ride. They've set a great example in providing good cycling infrastructure and community rides to their residents. Other councils ought to follow suit! These community rides are enjoyed by the whole local community - not a hard core cycling clique. They give residents a chance to try cycling in a safe, supported environment. They can also see any new cycling infrastructure built by the council. A special thank you goes to Alison Mortimer at Fairfield Council for her hard work.

The ride will be held again on Sunday, 19 September 2004, 9.30am. Don't miss it.

More info, photos

Tizzana Winery Luncheon Ride a Hit

Our Tizzana Luncheon Ride, held on Sunday 31 August, was yet again a success. This is probably our most well known ride, with about 60 riders joining us (a packed winery). The route winds along quiet and picturesque roads with many views over the Hawkesbury River Valley, a few challenging hills, a couple of ferry crossings and short stretches of good gravel road to arrive at Tizzana Winery for a catered and very social lunch. An easy 20 km ride back to Windsor completed the day.

This year we had three grades: 50, 70, and 90 kms, with the two longer rides presenting some challening climbs, combined with rewarding country scenary and fast descents.

More info, photos

Holroyd — Steering Committee Set Up

A meeting of Holroyd Council on August 9th approved a Bicycle Steering Committee, advertising for members will happen in next month or so. Known cyclists in area have been informed.

Construction along old canal between Gipps Rd and Prospect Reserviour is completed and pathway is open. Connection through the bush to Wetherill Park is under way, although it looks like a bridge is needed over the creek. A very, very low use road bridge exists and could be used to speed up opening. This road crosses the creek and its possible to walk or MTB the connection now except Transitway have erected a six foot wire fence to block the pathway!

Continuation to join the rail trail at Guildford is complete but there are five road crossings. RTA report access inside the Reservoir lands is only during daylight hours.

Parramatta-Liverpool Transitway: Dangerous on-road sections, in particular in Wetherill Park and along Great Western Highway, mean that this will not be a usable cycleway for some time to come. There has been no construction on the Canal to Parramatta section. Mr. Carl Scully advises in writing that Canal will be linked to Parramatta via Transitway planed route by end of December, 2003, with completion of the entire Transitway route soon thereafter.

At Hylands Rd where fourcycleways will join there is a road crossing of the Transitway where buses are doing 70 km/h. We fear this site will be the scene of cyclist fatalities once the cycleways are connected up. There is no sign of further construction in the immediate area. We have written to Mr. Scully with my concerns and he had acknowledged receipt of the letter and promised follow-up.

Joining the Canal to Fox St: The official Transitway route does intersect with the Wentworthville-Merrylands/Fox St on-road route but it’s not very direct. We will outline my preferred route asking for it to be treated with signposts and/or bike logos on the road as this is safer than just letting people find their own way and ending up riding along congested busy streets. The connection of the Canal to Rail Trail is completed, so there will be a long diversion via Guildford, but it is off-road all the way. This matter will be of interest to the new Holroyd Steering Committee.

Hawkesbury - Schools Connected

After a three year wait UWS and RAAF base Richmond have finally appointed their representatives to the Steering Committee. The Committee now truly represents cyclists in the Hawkesbury.

The Colo High School section of the off road path to Kurrajong is due to restart this month with $104,700 committed for 2003/2004 of stage III.It is expected to reach Kurmond Road by Christmas. A further $75,000 is provisionally budgeted for 2004/2005 which should see the crossing of Bells Line of Road opposite Kurmond Public School and eventually to Kurrajong.

CAMWEST attended a meeting on 9 July at Holroyd Council to discuss the formation of a Steering Committee. Council approved the committee on 5 August  after only 27 days which is great!

We are also currently reviewing and updating the 1997 Bike Plan in an attempt to save the Committee $10,000 which is the estimated cost of consultants. It is a long process and could take us several months.

Council have approved a 690 lot sub-division housing development at PittTown and have formed an advisory committee to oversee the planning, and we have made a submission (although this was not presented at the 3 September meeting!).

Print Newsletter Released

Our Spring edition of our print newsletter is out now. It looks at Active Transport, why it's the way to go, and why Health Departments should have a bigger role in facilitating it. It also covers our popular Tizzana Winery ride and the Western Australia Government's Transport Energy Strategy, in response to the risk of oil depletion.

This is an excellent way to raise awareness of cycling issues in Western Sydney for people that may not necessarily come to our website. Why not print it out and send a copy to your MP, together with your letter?

Download Newsletter (PDF, 1.3 Mb)

CAMWEST at Bike Show

Did you catch CAMWEST at the recent Bike Show? It was a great success, with many people trying to find other people to cycle with in areas like Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills, Penrith, Liverpool, Campbelltown, etc. Many were intersested in CAMWEST's rides and also in advocacy. There was much interest in Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) in the Liverpool and Campbelltown areas.


We recently held our Annual General Meeting over dinner at a great Thai restaurant in Blacktown.

We thanked Danny Hannan for his service as President. He highlighted CAMWEST’s achievements in the last year and beyond. . Our secretary (Rob Catford) and treasurer (Rob Kemp) were re-elected unanimously. Our advocacy focus has been very successful over the last couple of years, so we are looking to grow with new members. There's a number of projects we'd like to get involved in. Join us and make a difference! More Info

Another Cyclist is Born

CAMWEST welcomes Lily Grace Catherine, bound to become a keen cyclist, into the world. And congratulations to Lily's parents, Sharon and Richard, ex-CAMWEST members and keen advocates of cycling.

ABC, CSIRO, New Scientist Cover Oil Depletion

There has been new coverage on the issue of oil depletion, with the ABC presenting an indepth interview with three experts and the CSIRO's Energy and Transport Sector Outlook to 2020 raising concern over a "significant decline in oil production" together with greenhouse gas emissions. See below for details. The Federal Government needs to research this and produce a National Transport Energy Strategy to prepare us for a world with less oil. Cycling infrastructure can make a positive impact, while being already justified on other factors (obesity, heart disease, pollution, congestion, etc). Politically, it's got no down side.

Dwindling Oil (ABC Radio National Breakfast, 7.8.03)
“The world is running out of oil and it's running out fast... Even pumping the 1.1 trillion barrels of oil that remain becomes harder and harder as time goes by... This means we're likely to reach a peak in production well before we run out of oil altogether.
“Once demand outstrips supply, we can expect oil prices to skyrocket, dragging the global economy into a recession of apocalyptic proportions.”

CSIRO Energy and Transport Sector Outlook to 2020 (PDF, 3MB)
One of the two key drivers for change in the next decades is a "significant decline in oil production", the other being greenhouse gas emissions:
"Global oil production is anticipated to peak about 2020 and production will become increasingly concentrated in the Middle East, Former Soviet Union and West Africa. Demand is forecast to continue to increase at about 2% p.a. The timing for production peaking is debatable and will
depend heavily on the ability of the Middle East to attract capital and develop the very large amount of new production infrastructure required.
Australia is facing a similar outlook. Oil has been consumed in Australia three times faster than it has been discovered here for the past 7 years. The petroleum industry forecasts that the need to import oil will increase rapidly from the traditional 15% up to 60% of annual needs by 2010. This will have a negative balance of trade impact of $7-8 billion p.a.".

New Scientist, the well respected scientific journal, has also covered oil peak in a three part special looking at energy during August. The following quote is from one of the articles, titled 'Brace Yourself for the End of Cheap Oil' (New Scientist, 16/8/03):
"A moment of truth is fast approaching -- perhaps sooner than we can prepare for it... The crunch point comes not when we have run all the oil wells dry, but when demand outstrips production. And a growing number of experts are warning that this is likely to happen within the next few years."

Meanwhile, ABARE (the government agency in charge of resource research) has forecast lower energy exports for Australia, as we go down our depletion curve after having peaked in 2000:

Lower commodity export earnings in 2003-04 (ABARE, 22.9.03)
"'Australia's commodity export earnings are forecast to fall by 3 per cent to $84 billion in 2003-04', ABARE's Executive Director, Dr Brian Fisher, said today when releasing the September issue of Australian Commodities." Most significantly, "Unit returns for energy exports are forecast to decline by 11 per cent in 2003-04, after a fall of 4.1 per cent in 2002-03".

See Australia's dropping oil production (ABARE)

Read more: CAMWEST Oil Watch

Public Transport Trouble - Parry Inquiry

The Ministerial Inquiry into Public Passenger Transport Interim Report has been released, and you can find it at:

We encourage you to make a submission (see advocacy resources):

C/- Ministry of Transport
GPO Box 1620
Sydney NSW 2001
or via email to
Deadline - 10 October 03

There has recently been some very disappointing news from the State Government for supporters of public transport, such as CAMWEST:

Minister Costa should talk to his Labour colleague Alannah MacTiernan, WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister, who has recently acknowledged that "oil will be in increasingly short supply in the coming 10 to 20 years" and has as a result launched a Transport Energy Strategy (links below). This strategy will seek to shift Perth away from its high car dependence towards more sustainable modes, such as rail, cycling, and walking.

Postcard from the Future - Cycle Tourism

Here we are, riding in one of the many cycling tours that are organised in the future. By now, Bicycle NSW's Big Ride is so popular that they do four tours per year. Many other commercial groups run tours, and thousands of tourists (including families and baby boomers) are setting out on their own.

Because cycle touring is an immediate mode of transport, people come to know the little towns which would be ignored by people speeding by on the highway. It is slow, and it encourages more stops at country towns to either have a meal and a rest, enjoy the locals, or stay the night. Tours are combined with trains to cover vast areas.

As a result, many understand better regional and rural Australia, and regional towns are thriving again with a welcome economic boost through tourism.

In the Media Lately

Taxing the fat of the land only likely to thin out some more wallets (SMH, 7.10.03)
"Better to cut the costs of obesity through prevention than make people pay" for it, writes Rachael Oakes-Ash.

Gridlock in Sydney after fatal crash on bridge (SMH, 2.10.03)
The crash seems to have been caused by someone evading a speed radar check.

OPEC’s oil shock (The Economist, 25.9.03)
Although the communique did not explicitly say so, OPEC members are keen to keep worldwide oil stocks below their ten-year average. That would give the cartel more power to determine the price... Some observers are also speculating that OPEC may be sneakily trying to shift its price target above the current $22–28 range (per barrel, for a basket of Middle Eastern crudes, which tend to trade a couple of dollars below West Texas crude). After all, the oil price has been well within that range for the past few months. Why cut production when current supply levels are achieving their aim? In fact, the oil price has stayed higher than many expected: it was widely expected to fall well below $20 per barrel after the end of the Iraq war.

The obesity industry (The Economist, 25.9.03)
Fat is no longer just a problem in America, where nearly one-third of adults are thought to be obese. Millions more are overweight, though not (yet) heavy enough to qualify as obese. There are now an estimated 300m obese adults worldwide, up from 200m in 1995. In a decade or so, even countries not now associated with bulky populations, such as France and Japan, could have a big problem.

The greenback effect: economic growth polluting the environment (SMH, 19.8.03)
An Opinion Piece from Clive Hamilton, from the Australia Institite.

Oil and terrorism drive the presidential tour (The Guardian, 7.7.03)
"President Bush's trip to Africa this week signals a recent strategic decision to increase America's military presence to bolster what Washington now sees as two important national interests on the continent - the supply of oil and the struggle against terrorism".

Oil fuels economic miracle (The Guardian, 6/7/03)
But the boom may be too dependent on black gold, says Faisal Islam.

Oil shocked (The Guardian, 12/7/03)
"A desire to loosen Opec's stranglehold on petroleum prices lies behind Bush's interest in Africa and his plans for Iraq, writes Randeep Ramesh".

Man stabbed, shot fired during parking dispute (SMH, 11.8.03)

Woman driver hit by concrete block (SMH, 13.9.03)

Sydney toddler dies after running into road (SMH, 3.9.03)

Drunk, on the phone and the wrong side of highway (SMH, 5.9.03)

E-tolls spread, fares jump in transport shift (SMH, 8.9.03)

Obesity rate soars and it's going to get worse: report (SMH, 12.9.03)

Summer won't be the same (SMH, 12.9.03)
Global warming sceptics are about to get a cruel lesson - unless it rains soon the lawns and gardens of Sydney will begin dying of thirst from October 1... The Premier, Bob Carr, said climate change was responsible for the bans and they would be remembered as 'the first time global warming affected our way of life'.

Woman found shot after road accident (SMH, 18.9.03)

More delivers us much less (SMH, 17.9.03)
It's time we woke up to the contradiction at the heart of individualistic capitalism, says Ross Gittins.

The Cars that ate Cities (ABC's Background Briefing, 15.6.03)
When youÕre in traffic these days, four-wheel drives are everywhere. Most of them are registered in the cities and rarely leave the bitumen. They can be deadly urban assault vehicles. Many of them guzzle fuel at a rate that makes the big Falcons and Commodores look like petrol misers. And the toxic emissions that many four-wheel drives spew from their exhaust pipes can rate up there with small trucks.
"Who's been buying SUVs since auto makers turned them into family vehicles? They tend to be people who are insecure and vain, theyÕre frequently nervous about their marriages, and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, theyÕre apt to be self-centred and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbours or communities. No, thatÕs not a cynic talking, that's the auto industry's own market researchers and executives".

Public transport fares set to rise (SMH, 15.8.03)

Deadly sabotage strikes target Iraqi oil (SMH, 18.8.03)

What Happened to Cheap Postwar Oil? (Business Week, 6.8.03)
Combine a creeping comeback for Iraqi crude with plenty of other supply and inventory troubles, and what you get is $30 a barrel

Entering city to cost drivers $6 under plan (SMH, 26.8.03)

Death toll from Europe's hot spell could exceed 15,000 (SMH, 29.8.03)


We need more members to achieve better bike facilities in Western Sydney. There's a number of projects we'd like to get involved in. Join us and make a difference.

More Info

Action Corner!

Email Transport Minister Michael Cost, and ask him to support cycling and public transport in view of increasing energy risks. Below is an example:


Dear Minister Costa,

There has recently been some very disappointing news about public transport. Please follow the example of your Labour colleague Alannah MacTiernan, WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister, who has recently acknowledged that "oil will be in increasingly short supply in the coming 10 to 20 years" and has as a result launched a Transport Energy Strategy (links below). This strategy will seek to shift Perth away from its high car dependence towards more sustainable modes, such as rail, cycling, and walking.


CAMWEST's Action Corner is where we include one or two suggestions of something simple and concrete that you can do: write an email, letter, representation, turn up for a ride, etc. Join us in making a difference! More advocacy info

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