Brumby to boost living libraries

By Angela Dorizas

Libraries across Victoria can expect to receive facility upgrades under a $25 million extension of the State Government’s Living Libraries program.

In an address to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Annual Conference on Thursday, Premier John Brumby announced that a re-elected Labor Government would increase funding to complete 30 local library improvement projects.

“Our Government remains committed to helping you meet the ever increasing demand for services,” Mr Brumby said.

“One vitally important local government service is libraries.

“We’re going to make at least 30 libraries across Victoria bigger, brighter and better and in some cases new library services will be provided where previously there were none at all.”

Mr Brumby said libraries were “much more than just book depositories”. He said they were “community hubs” where residents could access the latest technology and resources.

“Victorians make 33 million visits to local libraries each year and they borrow 48 million items,” he added.

The $25 million funding builds upon a $34.5 million State Government investment since 2001.

Mr Brumby also promised an ongoing partnership between state and local government.

“Our Government is strongly committed to a close partnership with councils across Victoria,” he said.

“That’s because we share your goals of building strong, sustainable communities and dynamic local economies

“We probably do partnerships in this state better than anywhere else in Australia.”

Mr Brumby said it was critical for local and state governments to work together to achieve “sustained prosperity”, particularly through reducing red tape.

“In the local government sector specifically, the Essential Services Commission streamlining review, announced in July this year, aims to reduce the administrative burden on the sector by 25 per cent,” he said.

He added that “current intra-government reporting obligations will be under the microscope”.
MAV president Bill McArthur welcomed the Premier’s commitment to further library funding and the continuation of close state-local relations.

Cr McArthur said there was a “genuine” relationship between local and state government in Victoria, with Ministers readily made available to the MAV for consultation.

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