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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3464..

Mr Pratt: That claim is a lie and I would ask the minister to withdraw it-

MR HARGREAVES: No. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I shall continue.

Mr Pratt: before we get into deeper and hotter water about this issue. I would ask him to withdraw that claim. That claim is a lie. I did not ask people to brief me about the services of the library.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, you know the use of that word is inappropriate in this place. I have already called you to order once. I do not want to have to do it again.

Mr Pratt: I will withdraw the word "lie". I stand by the principle of what I discussed.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, on the point of order: I am happy to continue on and we will see where that takes us about this.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: You may continue, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much. The officer then said to Mr Pratt that she was a public servant and was not able to discuss the matter with anyone. Mr Pratt then said he understood he needed to make an approach to the minister's office if he wanted information. He said that. He then indicated he would be seeking an appointment with the minister at 9 o'clock Monday morning to request an urgent meeting with me to discuss the full library service review details. He has not contacted my office. So he has not even bothered to try to find things out. This man is a bully and a coward.

It has been some time since the opposition raised a matter of real importance. This matter today is important and I acknowledge that. It is important to the government. I acknowledge Mrs Burke as the newly-created Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I think that is wonderful.

The decision to close the library is a significant one, particularly as the Stanhope Labor government has a strong commitment to our public library service and the important role public libraries play in the life of the ACT community. It must be noted that the role and the nature of public libraries are changing; they no longer fit the stereotype of quiet places filled simply with rows and rows of books. Instead, they are moving with the times to embrace electronic resources and new service delivery methods to appeal to people of all ages, particularly a new generation of library users.

This government has invested significantly in library services in the past few years to help modernise them. The $31/2 million new Kippax library, which opened in August 2005, is almost four times larger than the previous one, which was located in a temporary facility. It features an open floor plan using natural light, a community meeting room, public toilets and enhanced electronic services. It is accessible for people with disabilities and is located closer to bus stops and the local shopping centre. In fact, the building has been awarded a 2006 Master Builders Association award for excellence in construction and design.

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