Minister Reviews Library Funding

Minister Reviews Library Funding

Victoria Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell

$6.5M for Libraries And Landmark Library Review

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell today announced the Victorian Coalition Government will inject $6.5 Million over the next three years into Victorian libraries in order to fix Labor’s black hole in library funding as well as initiate a comprehensive review into the state’s library services.

“I am proud to announce the Baillieu Government will provide funding over the next three years to ensure that no library misses out.” Mrs. Powell said.

“The government will ensure library funding levels are sustained while we undertake a landmark review into the future of Victorian library services and funding arrangements.”

“We have listened carefully to the views of library corporations, councils, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), parliamentary colleagues and the wider community and we have been working together in good faith to address funding issues and establish a bipartisan Libraries Ministerial Advisory Committee to ensure we can deliver a modern, vibrant and effective library service into the future.”

“As a former councillor and council representative on a library corporation I fully understand libraries are a highly valued and important community resource, and that their role is changing and evolving over time.” Mrs. Powell said.

Today’s announcement confirms:

  • An injection of $6.2 Million over 2012-13 and 2013-14 to address Labor’s cuts to library funding;
  • Restoration of funding for 2011-12 through an upfront full-year single payment and over $200,000 in top-up payments this year to ensure no library receives any less money than they did last year;
  • Re-establishment of the Libraries Ministerial Advisory Committee (Libraries MAC) for the first time as a bipartisan committee including a representative from the Opposition;
  • Funding of up to $100,000 for a comprehensive review of the role, services and funding for libraries in Victoria to be undertaken by the Libraries MAC.

Following negotiations over the past few weeks with councils, library corporations and the MAV, the agreement has been endorsed by the MAV.

“All councils and library corporations will today be sent the new agreed funding agreement which will cover the two years of 2011-12 and 2012-13.”

Funding for outer years will be subject to the outcomes of the review which will report in time for consideration prior to the 2013-14 budget.

“I have appreciated the efforts of councils, library corporations, the MAV and the community and I understand the MAV will now recommend that councils sign this new agreement.” Mrs. Powell said.

“I would also like to recognise the efforts of MAV President Cr. Bill McArthur and the MAV CEO, Mr. Rob Spence, in our negotiations towards this excellent outcome.”

“This is a tremendous result for all Victorians. I am very pleased that Government has ensured current funding levels of libraries through to 2013-14 and I know the sector will welcome the opportunity to have a comprehensive look at library services and funding into the future.”

The draft terms of reference are attached and the final terms of reference will be released in the coming weeks following some additional consultation with sector stakeholders.

“The Libraries MAC will be chaired by Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government David Morris and I have invited Member for Macedon and former chair of the committee Joanne Duncan to represent the Opposition on the committee.” Mrs. Powell said.

“Both David and Joanne are passionate about libraries and I know they will do a great job.”

“I am very pleased that libraries can plan for an exciting future with their local communities without the threat of budget cuts holding them back and with a clear plan for the future.” Mrs. Powell said.