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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2113 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

schools in terms of planning for their future? You have outlined the schools from which you have removed supplementary staffing. You have accused us of doing nothing, which is totally wrong about Charnwood. What are you now doing? Which schools are below a viable number and what are you doing with them?

MR STEFANIAK: Really, Ms McRae! This Government is very aware of declining enrolments and we will do whatever we can to assist schools and to see whether there is any way of reversing those trends. That is something the Government is looking at, and we will discuss it with the school community. In relation to at least one other school, that is occurring at present and is continuing on into the new year.

Public Libraries

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr De Domenico. Minister, at a time when patronage of public libraries is on the rise right across Canberra, how can you justify the cutbacks your Government made in the budget, which can only impact on this vital service? Please enlighten me on how you intend to keep your commitment to maintaining service delivery when at Tuggeranong library alone it appears that two part-time workers will lose those jobs as a result of your cutbacks.

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Osborne for his question. Mr Osborne would be aware that for the past two years the public library service has overspent its allocated budget, I think to the tune of about half a million dollars. Quite candidly, Mr Osborne, that is something that is not acceptable. Can I say that there has been some scuttlebutt spread around about the Library Service by selective use of statistics. What the Library Service will get is slightly less than what was allocated last year; but, on top of that, their network costs of $60,000, for example, are being met out of the City Services corporate budget and the IT budget. When you wrap up all the money that is going into the Library Service, you will find that it is not that much less than it was last year. We expect that, like all other areas of government departments and government services, they should pull their belt in. The situation where other government areas have to cross-subsidise them to the tune of $400,000 to $500,000 a year is totally unacceptable.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, your commitment to maintaining service delivery was false; is that right? Could you answer that?

MR DE DOMENICO: No, it was not false at all. The services will be delivered, but they will be delivered more efficiently.

Mrs Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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