Greens Regional Arts spokesperson, Dawn Walker MP has denounced the NSW Government’s $5.2 million cut to local libraries in their 2018 State Budget and accused them of taking a sledgehammer to local communities.
“Our local libraries are at the heart of our communities; they’re where young families meet for story time, seniors learn online skills and young students come to locate resources and services.
“But instead of investing in our libraries, the State Government has cut $5.2 million from library funding by eliminating an annual grants program worth $4 million and slashing $1.2 million from annual subsidy payments to that local councils rely on operate library branches.
“The way this Liberal-National Government has taken a sledgehammer to our already underfunded local libraries is appalling and senseless at a time when the Government is crowing about having a $3.9 billion budget surplus.
“In fact, NSW already had the lowest level of state government library expenditure in Australia at less than 8% – the lowest level of any Australian state or territory. This latest budget cut further widens the gap and will place enormous strain on many local councils by potentially forcing them to reduce library staff, cut branch opening hours, as well as reduce collections and community programs.
“The State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has described the State Budget as a “people’s budget”, buts he’s told the millions of NSW residents who use our public libraries every year that they don’t matter.
“This attack on our local libraries is a disgrace and ignores the recommendation of the Government’s own expert panel, the Library Council of NSW which recommended an increase in public library funding for 2018-19.
‘Public libraries are a source of lifelong education and one of any community’s greatest assets. The NSW Government must go back to the drawing board and reverse these senseless cuts that will do so much damage to our public libraries said Dawn Walker MP.