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CSIRO workers pedal-push for sufficient bike bays at Black Mountain

Dr Scott Wilkinson with his CSIRO cycling colleagues.

Dr Scott Wilkinson with his CSIRO cycling colleagues. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Beleaguered CSIRO staff in Canberra are demanding no fewer than 300 bicycle storage bays at their new Black Mountain site.

Their lobbying comes as other federal government workplaces in the nation's capital pay for $490 audits to find out if their offices are bike-friendly.

The CSIRO, whose national numbers have dropped from 6500 to fewer than 6100 because of recent redundancies and a ban on temps and contractors, is set to abandon its headquarters in Campbell, near the War Memorial, and move all ACT staff to its Black Mountain campus.

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The proposal involves building a new research centre and refurbishing other areas, and its first phase should be finished when the lease on the Campbell office expires in 2016.

Consolidation of CSIRO properties will cost about $196 million, but the organisation says it is critical to the sustainability of its operating budget, too much of which is spent maintaining old, dangerous buildings.

The CSIRO Staff Association has filed a submission to the parliamentary standing commission on public works saying employees want access to bike storage bays which are "appropriately located, secure, covered and well lit".

Black Mountain-based cyclist and hydrologist Scott Wilkinson, who helped write the staff association submission, said the figure of 300 bays was based on the ratio of cyclists at other CSIRO sites.

"There will be 1500 staff [at Black Mountain] and we see a 20 per cent level of demand," Dr Wilkinson said.

He conceded management had been quoting a survey saying there would not be so many cyclists, but said counting cyclist numbers could be tricky because bikes were often hidden away in the corners of offices.

He said the facility should be ''built to aspirational standards''.

''This will encourage people to take on the wellbeing benefits [of cycling].''

Dr Wilkinson said it was important to have ''end-of-ride facilities'' such as showers and a place to hang cycling clothes to dry during the day.

The executive officer of cycling lobby group Pedal Power, John Armstrong, said asking for 300 bike storage bays was a positive move because ''this is the reason people take jobs at certain places''.

His organisation has done audits on more than 15 ACT workplaces, a number of which were federal government workplaces, to give star ratings for cycling facilities, including end-of-ride amenities.

Other criteria the offices were marked on included bike parking, access to work from the parking area, number of parking spaces, security and weather protection.

Pedal Power's document said cycling helped increase workforce productivity, decrease absenteeism and raise the health, morale and enthusiasm and lower lifestyle-related disorders.

17 comments

  • Well done CSIRO, a great example for us.

    Commenter
    Wayne
    Date and time
    March 18, 2014, 5:17AM
    • Another pushy cyclist... wow what a shcok...

      Commenter
      Shogunmatty
      Location
      Reality
      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 8:19AM
      • Trolling on a cycling story... wow what a shock...

        Commenter
        Bob
        Date and time
        March 18, 2014, 8:51AM
    • No such thing as a pushy motorist, is there?

      Commenter
      Wayne
      Date and time
      March 18, 2014, 8:53AM
      • what a joke.
        this is why the APS has a bad name nationally and nobody sympathises with the cuts in the APS when this sort of waste is happening

        Commenter
        is this a joke?
        Date and time
        March 18, 2014, 9:13AM
        • Having worked in both private and public sectors, I have seen a much bigger push in the private sector for these sorts of facilities. It's a relatively inexpensive way of providing a big benefit to your employees and encouraging the retention of staff. Just because something costs money doesn't mean it is wasteful.

          Commenter
          Bob
          Date and time
          March 18, 2014, 10:01AM
      • Aren't cycling numbers increasing as pay parking is introduced? It's been very difficult to get a bike place since the end of free parking.

        Commenter
        Jess
        Location
        here
        Date and time
        March 18, 2014, 9:23AM
        • How much is being spent on car parking facilities?

          Commenter
          frogg
          Date and time
          March 18, 2014, 9:25AM
          • If these guys would just get on and do the work that we the taxpayer pay them for we would have a lot less issues. I can't believe that they are demanding 300 bike parks when only about 14 could be bothered attending their "rally". What a joke. Glad to see my tax dollar being put to such good use.

            Commenter
            JoKing
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            March 18, 2014, 9:38AM
            • Seriously? This is their biggest concern at work? Whilst many worry about their future jobs status, slowing economy, and rising living costs week to week, bike parking is at the top of the list? Comical really. No wonder so many in Australia see Canberra as full of underworked, overpaid, lost touch with reality public servants.

              Commenter
              pp
              Date and time
              March 18, 2014, 9:51AM

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