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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3880..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

library has always been the cornerstone of the ACT library service, and this has been strongly supported by the Stanhope Labor government."Then come their commitments. It says, "Labor will continue its strong support for and development of regional libraries."Well, scrap that one—broken promise No 1.

It then goes on to community access and participation: "Labor is committed to providing the best possible access to library services for all Canberrans."Well, scrap that; if you live in south Canberra; access gone. But it then goes on to say, "and values community views on how to achieve this". Yes, let me read Jon Stanhope's commitment on libraries again: "Labor is committed to providing the best possible access to library services for all Canberrans and values community views on how to achieve this."Clearly, John Hargreaves does not believe that, he does not honour that commitment and he does not believe that what the Chief Minister said should be upheld because they have majority government. Arrogance! Arrogance is at work in this city this day because we have a government that think that they can get away with everything.

In The Canberra Times yesterday there was an interesting article by Geoff Miller, a local author. He wrote:

He belongs to a government which claims, according to the ACT Government website, to be committed to engaging the Canberra community in the development and implementation of government policies, programs, projects, public works and services.

That is the commitment on the website. That is the commitment in their libraries campaign policy, but what is the reality? The reality is there is no consultation because John Hargreaves just said, "I know what the answer is. It does not matter".

Let us look at who is responsible for community consultation for the ACT government. Where do we find the government's document entitled Your guide to engaging with the community: ACT government community engagement manual? We find it on their website. You turn the pages and, like all glossies put out by the government, there is a foreword. Who is the minister responsible for consultation and community engagement? Who is the minister who is responsible for the community engagement manual? Who is the minister with his picture on page iii? It is John Hargreaves, minister for closing the libraries: foreword from the minister for community services. It is from John Hargreaves and it says, "We will engage with you."It actually lays out how we will engage with you so that we find out what you want so that we can honour Jon Stanhope's commitment to seek the community's views on how to achieve a better library service. And what does Mr Hargreaves say? In the section entitled "Recommendations regarding time frames"he says:

It is strongly recommended that the absolute minimum for any community engagement activity be six weeks.

Six weeks! But what was set aside in the contract that the government set up so that they could get away with the closing of the Griffith library without talking to the community? Consultation in the signed legal contract—consultation that was not done with the community—of half a day. There is the government's manual with Mr Hargreaves's shiny picture in the front, saying:


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