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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3518..

MR PRATT (continuing):

services in group centre libraries, the potential sale of mobile library 2, a service fee on reservations, the loss of approximately 30 staff and the potential sale of the Griffith library site. When will you make a decision about the rest of the recommendations of the report that you tabled yesterday?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. As I mentioned yesterday, we have taken a decision regarding the closure of Griffith library. Mr Pratt will note that in the executive summary it says that that closure should proceed as quickly as possible, and I have accepted that. In fact, it reaffirms the view that we have had for some time that we need to move quickly if we are to be equitable across town in terms of our global service delivery.

With respect to the ones Mr Pratt mentioned, the charge for community access to the internet in libraries I do not accept. It was a recommendation put to me but I do not accept that. I take the point that I think Mr Stefaniak, or it may have been Mr Stefaniak on behalf of Mrs Burke, made yesterday about the digital divide. It would be inconsistent with our approach to bridge the digital divide if we started charging people who do not have the means to pay for access to the internet and the education that must accompany that access. So I can rule that out right now.

With respect to the rest, some of those recommendations are consequential. For example, if we close the Griffith library the positions must be relocated. The recommendations are around how that would happen and I am quite happy to advise the Assembly that I have not considered those in absolute depth as yet. I want to take advice on that. I can assure the Assembly that, as with all the territory and municipal services changes, there will be no forced redundancies. If people wish to do these things, I am not going to stand in their way. If people want a job within the library service or within territory and municipal services, they will have one. I undertake to those folks, through this Assembly, as I have already done: there will be a job in the system for them.

I have to say to you that many of the other recommendations have to be considered in the total context of the library services across the town and I have not taken a decision. Some of them may very well require cabinet approval; I am not sure about that and I will need to consider that. Some of them will not; they can be done by me administratively, and I have to consider those too. I have not got to the position yet where a decision will be taken on that. I am mindful that we do not want to have any sense of insecurity around the system, so the decisions we take around that will be reasonably quick. But I do not want to do them just on the spur of the moment.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Pratt?

MR PRATT: Yes, thank you. Minister, what was your target for savings for the library service referred to on page 3 of the report?

MR HARGREAVES: Page 3 of the report is, in fact, the table of contents.

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