State Election: Foley pledges a big boost for books

Election campaign: Luke Foley, at Menai Library with candidates Maryanne Stuart and Greg Holland, details Labor's plan to provide more funding for libraries. Picture: Chris Lane
Election campaign: Luke Foley, at Menai Library with candidates Maryanne Stuart and Greg Holland, details Labor's plan to provide more funding for libraries. Picture: Chris Lane

LUKE Foley became the first party leader to venture into the Menai area during the state election campaign when he promised to boost funding for public libraries.

Mr Foley, accompanied by candidates Maryanne Stuart (Heathcote) and Greg Holland (Miranda), said a Labor government would create a new $50 million public library infrastructure fund, which would help upgrade facilities and buy new equipment.

He also pledged that within four years a Labor government would double the annual state government per capita subsidy for public libraries.

Mr Foley said that in 1977, former premier Bob Carr had achieved a "visionary benchmark" of $1.85 per capita subsidy, based on the population in council areas and library locations.

This figure would be increased to $3.70, and linked to the consumer price index so that it would be maintained in real terms in successive years.

SUBSIDY PLUMMETS

Sutherland Shire Council joined calls for more funding during a day of action by public libraries associations late last year.

It joined in a ‘‘national day of action’’ organised by the NSW Public Libraries Association in December last year.

A flyer distributed by the council urged residents to let candidates for the state election know ‘‘library lovers vote too’’.

Election pressure: Sutherland Shire Council Library Services flyer.

Election pressure: Sutherland Shire Council Library Services flyer.

‘‘The NSW government provides the lowest contribution to public library funding of all states in Australia, at just 7 per cent of total costs,’’ it said.

‘‘Local councils carry the unsustainable burden of funding the remaining 93 per cent to operate this vital community service.

‘‘State contribution has reduced from 23.6 per cent in 1980, and continues to decline. This is our call for increased and sustainable funding.’’

Comments