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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3890..

Standing orders—suspension

Motion (by Ms MacDonald) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day, Assembly business relating to the proposed reference of the closure of the Griffith library to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, being called on forthwith.

Griffith library

Debate resumed.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.41): The Griffith library site is easily accessible and there are no parking problems. I have spoken about some of the issues raised by constituents. According to another constituent who has contacted me, this ease of access is especially appreciated by disabled residents. I contrast this to parking in Civic. Members should be aware of the recent ACT Property Council analysis that suggests that, unless short-term remedies are found as soon as possible, there will be a shortfall of some 5,000 spaces in 2007 and a shortage of 9,500 spaces in 2009.

There is limited free parking in the city. Thus, for those who have in the past used the Griffith library but must now drive to the Civic library, there will be an associated cost with every book borrowed, newspaper read or internet site visited. Of course, with the legislation today, the internet sites might also have an extra charge.

But what will the extra cost be for those in Griffith who will now have to travel by bus or car to the new Civic library? How will these people be compensated for this extra inconvenience and expense? The appeal of the Griffith library lies in its accessibility and position away from the bustle of Civic, and this is particularly important for mothers with small children, schoolchildren and elderly residents from the inner south.

This government purports to represent those in the community who are disadvantaged and underprivileged, and the decision to close the Griffith library is very much a kick in the teeth for those people. Many of them, in fact, are avid users of the library services, and that is coming through in the representations that are being made to my office. Griffith library contributes to the development of relationships within the inner south community, a fact that has not been considered by this government.

I appreciated Mr Barr's admission this morning that the government may have overspent in the first four and a half years in office. On a side note, I hope that he is not contemplating taking over the role of Mr Quinlan as Treasurer. If he does, I would certainly urge him to keep his faith when his colleagues ignore his views over the next two years. He, as an economic rationalist, of course, would find that enormously frustrating. Mr Quinlan might have a bowls partner, Mr Speaker, if he becomes equally frustrated.

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