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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 633 ..

Public Library Services

MS HORODNY: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr De Domenico, and is in relation to the review of ACT public library services. Why did the Government choose an economic consultancy firm to conduct the review, rather than a group of individuals who are experienced in running libraries; or are we seeing another Booz Allen style of consultancy which is not really concerned with delivering quality library services but is rather another cost cutting exercise?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Horodny for her question. The answer to the second part of the question is no. We did not choose an economic-type person in order to emulate Booz Allen and Hamilton. Why we did choose that specific type of consultant, Ms Horodny, was, if you had been aware, that over the past three years the ACT Library Service has been continuing to overspend its budget. Quite obviously, Ms Horodny, we had to bring somebody in to try to make sure that that does not happen in the future. That is why that decision was made.

MS HORODNY: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Are there community representatives on the review steering committee? Will there be any public consultation? If not, why not?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Horodny for the supplementary question. Can I say that the public have been consulted and will continue to be consulted on all these issues. But the problem, Ms Horodny, once again, was that the ACT Library Service continued to overspend its budget year after year, with no extra or better services being provided to the community. The aim of this Government is to make sure that the services are improved, based on the needs of the community, in the most cost-efficient way possible for the taxpayer. We will continue to adopt that sort of policy.

Community Organisations

MS REILLY: My question is directed to the Chief Minister in her capacity as Minister for Health and Community Care. As you are aware, the introduction of the Sax award in the community sector is a complex issue for community organisations. What assistance does the Chief Minister intend to provide to community organisations to enable a smooth transition which will not affect the delivery of services to clients?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Ms Reilly, and congratulations on your first question. It is a very sensible question, too, because it is an issue that is of great concern to all community sector organisations. As those who know much about the area would be aware - and I know that Ms Reilly does - this award will quite dramatically increase the staffing costs of those organisations that are currently party to that award. At this stage, that is only a very few community service organisations.

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