Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Bike Mechanics

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: By way of supplementary question, will the summit include discussions around qualifications for bicycle mechanics and further opportunities to provide more training for people to become bike mechanics?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member: it is a very good question. It is similar to the question of the Hon. David Ridgway. We will hold it over the coming months. We have not set down exactly what will be included, but anything that touches on the ability to provide more jobs and industry we are happy to look at.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Does the minister know whether skilled workers leaving manufacturing with companies like Holden might transition into becoming bike mechanics and whether those skills would translate into the building of other mechanisms like wheelchairs or mobility aids or even maintenance work? What is the government doing to promote that opportunity?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member for her very good question. I understand that one of our bicycle manufacturers, who is making bicycle frames from titanium additive manufacturing, is a former Holden worker who started their own company.

The extraordinarily advanced manufacturing skills we had through our automotive sector are readily translatable into other sectors. As I said, I understand one of the new companies in South Australia is run by a former Holden engineer, so I am certain that there will be areas, whether it is cycling or a whole range of other areas, that will see Holden workers, not just as mechanics, but owning and starting and running companies that build and design things in bicycle manufacturing and other areas.

I’m also aware that there are a number of the 74 tier 1 and tier 2 supply chain companies that are diversifying into areas like medical devices. The honourable member is very astute, and she is correct that there are significant opportunities in other areas such as mobility assistance or medical devices and bicycles.

First Question asked to Maher:

The Hon. G.E. GAGO : My question is to the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation. Can the minister inform the chamber about how the cycling sector could grow to support businesses and jobs in South Australia?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member for her question and her ongoing interest in all things bike related.

The Hon. Gail Gago has many and varied interests across a huge range of areas

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: —although I do note that Hon. Gail Gago is an accomplished runner more than a cyclist. I thank the Hon. David Ridgway for his interjections; he is a well-known athlete out and around the place. He occasionally walks places, I understand.

On Sunday I announced that South Australia would hold a bike summit later this year, taking in a wide range of businesses and experts to showcase our existing bike sector and to look at opportunities to grow. The summit is the first recommendation from an SA government commissioned report by renowned urban strategist Margaret Caust, who examined how we can make the most of our established reputation as the key cycling destination in Australia.

We are already known for our bike culture in SA, particularly as hosts of the Tour Down Under. Recently released data shows that the 2017 TDU added $56.5 million into the state economy and created around 680 full-time jobs. This year’s TDU also had a record number of spectators, with almost 840,000 people watching the action and around 43,000 die-hard cycling fans coming to South Australia from overseas or interstate.

Long term, we have the capacity to better position ourselves as global leaders and to develop local industry on the back of our current success. We are starting to see green shoots already. Start‑ups and small businesses in the cycling industry are establishing themselves in SA, but we are keen to make sure that we give them every possible chance to take full advantage of where we currently stand and where we are headed.

I am not just talking about the lycra-clad clusters of middle-aged men you see cycling on weekends or on the way into the city in the morning early for work. This goes further and is about creating new and globally competitive industries on the back of our international reputation. We have always been known as a manufacturing state, so a natural progression into this area makes sense. Our next step after the summit is to look at how we can encourage more cycling in the state and new bike-related industries. We already have some exciting businesses established here, like our high‑vis, designer Hey Reflect’o, and framing component manufacturers Astir Frames and Finch Composites.

Globally, a cycling boom is underway, with future-focused cities making cycling a key mode of transport. This in turn is spurring on new manufacturing industries that focus on design of materials and production. E-bikes—bicycles with an integrated electric motor which can be used to supplement pedalling—are a game changer. I know the Hon. David Ridgway would very much appreciate the battery-assisted propulsion whenever he has a chance.

The bike economy report finds that e-bike sales will be worth $24.3 billion by 2025, with bike sales worth $65 billion by 2019. In Australia there is a $254 million benefit from bike events and tourism. The cycling industry accounts for approximately 10,000 jobs, and bike goods and services account for $1 billion in sales. In South Australia there are in excess of 120 bike-related businesses. Five of the nine top bike tourism destinations are in South Australia, and there are more than 400 people employed in bike retail.

The industry is changing rapidly and, like we are seeing with other disruption in traditional manufacturing sectors, start-ups and new players are entering the market with new and exciting products on offer. Areas are moving in the bike economy, such as urban designer Daniels Langeberg’s new company. His company, EcoCaddy, is a prime example of this new innovation. It is why when we released the report and the bike summit, we did it at his workshop in Wright Street in the Adelaide CBD.

His company operates electric-assisted pedicabs, including both a courier service and a passenger service, providing an environmentally friendly and different experience for people in the city. EcoCaddy could have set up anywhere in Australia, but they chose Adelaide partly because we are a cycling friendly city with great cycling infrastructure and we provide a competitive business environment. These are significant opportunities for the bike economy, and I look forward to seeing how this sector of our economy develops.