21 June 2018
Greens candidate for the seat of Lismore, Sue Higginson, has reacted strongly to the Liberal National Government’s vicious cuts to the States libraries budget.
Sue Higginson said “Our libraries are such an important community asset and resource. Everyone has a library story. When I had my first child 26 years ago and I lived quite remote I used to take my child to the Lismore Library to read stories, borrow books and really importantly, meet other parents. Now 26 years later my daughter takes my 9 month old grandson to story reading sessions. She meets other parents, he interacts with other infants and only last week the fire brigade came to show the children what a fire truck and fire fighter looks like up close”.
“I’m bitterly disappointed that the Nationals have slashed a significant 18% from libraries in the State Budget announcement. Yet research indicates that every dollar spent on public libraries delivers a community benefit of around $3.20 and that use of libraries is on the increase, particularly for less advantaged members of our community. It’s unfair and bad business when the Lib/Nat coalition is announcing a $4 billion surplus that our public libraries are being run into the ground.
The Greens have long called for increased library funding, not brutal budget cuts. These will hurt our community, especially the most vulnerable.
The State Government’s contribution to libraries has declined over decades, cost-shifting the responsibility onto financially struggling Local Government.
I am very concerned about the effect this will have on resources and services in the Lismore electorate. “Will it mean Lismore and Tweed Councils and the Richmond Tweed Regional Library network will have to lay off staff, close branches or cut programs?
When Lismore council tried to cut library funding in 2017 the community came out strongly in support of their libraries. In March this year Lismore City Council resolved to write to the State Government in support of LGNSW’s campaign for increased library funding.”
Libraries are free, safe public places open to all. People rely on them for study, access to computers and internet, and helpful places linking them to social services.
Ask any grandparent: Google is no substitute for libraries staffed by friendly, caring and most of all, knowledgeable people who live in our community.”
For comment: Sue Higginson 0428 227 363
For more information on the work the Greens have done on libraries in NSW see – https://fundourlibraries.org.au/