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Industry invests in Australian advocacy

Published February 7, 2012

MELBOURNE, Australia (BRAIN) Feb 7, 06:37 MT — Six key industry suppliers have stepped up their commitment to the Australian market through an investment in the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) advocacy group.

Shimano, Cycling Sports Group, Specialized, Trek and distributors Sola Sport and Bicycle Parts Wholesale have signed on as members of CPF, joining a dozen existing members including Giant, Gazelle and CSG Australia.

Membership dues are a quarter of a percent of yearly sales of bikes, parts, accessories and cycling-related services.

The contribution allows the 10-year-old CPF to continue its work to increase investments in bike-friendly policies, cycling infrastructure and the raising of awareness in general for cycling. That includes communicating with major political parties and key advisers about the benefits of cycling to increase mobility, improve lifestyles and create more livable communities.

The CPF also supports state-level programs, organizes the Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards and hosts an annual parliamentary dinner with key international and Australian speakers.

“This visible commitment by Australian bike companies reinforces and supports our national advocacy role,” said Stephen Hodge, government relations manager for CPF. “Not only does this investment allow us to grow cycling, it sends a clear signal to federal politicians that the industry is investing in promoting the benefits of riding in all its forms.”

The Australian industry represents about $1 billion in annual sales. Australia imported 1,083,516 bikes last year, a 20 percent drop from 2010 and the lowest figure since 2003. The decline reflects recent challenges like a government law that precludes online retailers from paying taxes and import duties on any product valued below AU$1,000 and the strength of the Australian dollar.

The CPF was created by trade organization Bicycle Industries Australia, or BIA, a group that has lobbied the government to lower the $1,000 import value threshold to level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers. The BIA represents the wholesale sector on the Australian Bicycle Council and the Standards Australia committee, which oversees standards applicable to bikes and accessories.

—Nicole Formosa

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