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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2354 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order! The question is out of order.

Mr Moore: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Under which standing order?

MR SPEAKER: Standing order 117, (iii) inferences; (iv) imputations.

Library Services

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr De Domenico. In response to a question in the Assembly on 20 September the Chief Minister stated that the Government has "given a direction that library hours and services will not be cut". How is this achievable, given that, according to figures provided to my office by the Government, the number of full-time professional officers in the ACT public library system last year was 10 per cent below that in the previous financial year, and even lower than the number as far back as 1991, and the budget for library materials purchases for the public library system this year is 7.5 per cent below funding for last year and more than 15 per cent below that for the year before, not counting the effect of inflation? Will the Government guarantee again that no services will be cut, nor the quality of those services reduced?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, without reflecting on any future discussion we might have on the budget, over the last three years the ACT Library Service has been supplemented from the City Services Group budget. The ACT Library Service budget for 1995-96 has been shaped to reduce expenditure in the overall library service area while maintaining service levels to the community. New efficiencies will come with the introduction of an electronic client checkout system that will allow library users to process their own library borrowings, and the review of current staffing arrangements, particularly in relation to administrative overheads. The role of libraries is changing and a community information strategy is being developed to identify the range of information services which libraries will provide in the future. So the Chief Minister's statement in September stands.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Ms Tucker?

MS TUCKER: Yes. Although you did not mention it now, Mr De Domenico, I have heard that you are going to be spending more money on information technology. I could not find that in the budget. Could you tell me exactly how much you will be spending on that?

MR DE DOMENICO: In fact, it is in the budget, Ms Tucker. It is in the capital works and services and public works budget. I will get you the exact figure so that you do not accuse me of misleading the house, but it is some hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is over $100,000.

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