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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3435..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I reject the view put forward by Mr Stefaniak that we are engaging in social exclusion. I think we are enhancing the services right across Canberra and we will continue to do so.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, when your government closes Griffith library how do you intend to plug the digital divide for the residents of the inner south and others who use this facility?

MR HARGREAVES: I will answer that in a couple of ways. Firstly, we found that quite a large number of the users of the Griffith library are in fact also users of other libraries. We also find that some people come from afar; one fellow said that he was from Bungendore and that that was the closest library to his home. I would argue that the Queanbeyan library is a little bit closer to Bungendore than is the Griffith library. I would suggest that the person who lives in Evatt and who mourned the loss of the Griffith library has to go past, in fact, two libraries before he gets anywhere near Griffith.

In terms of the digital divide, that is the very point we make with the enhanced services. In the new Civic library-and I have offered members a tour over that; I do not know how many members have taken us up on that-there will be increased computer access. There will be people on deck to show people how to navigate their way around the internet. There will be people to show folks how to use the internet to pay their bills if that is the way they would like to do it. In fact, a lot of the materials accessed by students these days are through the internet and there will be trained staff there to help them. We have increased those particular services at Kippax, we have increased those services at Belconnen, we have increased those services in Civic, and, of course, we have a couple of joint-use libraries around the town as well. So, in answer to Mr Stefaniak's question of how we intend to address the digital divide, we intend to increase our attempts to bridge that divide.

Environment-energy usage and climate change

MR GENTLEMAN: I ask the minister for the environment and sustainability a question relating to energy use in the territory and, indirectly, climate change. I understand that the opposition has adopted a policy on energy usage that will see consumption of electricity produced by fossil fuel powered generators reduced by eight per cent over a period of four years if they take government in 2008. Has the government a similar policy?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. I share his understanding, through you, Mr Speaker, of the opposition's policy, but it makes me wonder where they have been and what they have been doing since the last election. We have a fair idea of what they have been doing. From reading the Canberra Times, we know what they have been doing. Energy policy is certainly not one of them, although they have been using their energies quite well. Perhaps they have been too busy developing policies to even take note of their own personal electricity bills.

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