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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2185 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

by machines and computers, and we must cater for them as well. In the rush to embrace technological solutions I think we also have to be really careful that we do not forget that a computer can never replace personal contact. Another thing to be mindful of is that other skills and pleasures should not be lost because we come to rely too much on technology. Imagine a world without books.

The library review mentions the many important functions of libraries in our community. It talks a lot about reorientating the Library Service towards better customer satisfaction - we hear a lot about this these days - and shifting the culture of the service away from a repository or book stock and towards a technological gateway. But we have to think about not only the most informed and literate customers in this rush to embrace customer commitment programs but also groups of people who may otherwise be left out if all services were rationed according to market forces. Maximising performance and customer satisfaction is very important, and we would not ever deny that. Staff training and continuous service improvement are an important part of improving our Library Service but, as we have raised in the Assembly before, we believe that any reductions in staff must be closely analysed. Just how far can we go in replacing staff with technology? We are told that the ACT has one of the highest staffed library services according to benchmarks, but we also have one of the most used services in Australia. The purchaser-provider model is mentioned again in the report. This is another fad that has been wholeheartedly embraced without much careful analysis.

I think some of the recommendations in this report are sensible - for example, those about the mobile library service and increasing the materials budget - but reducing the hours in some libraries needs close community consultation. As a member for Ginninderra, I have to express grave concern at the suggestion that Kippax library should close. Kippax is 12 kilometres from Gungahlin. If we are serious about people having access to local facilities, from shops to libraries and health centres, then we cannot keep shutting those facilities down. It was interesting to hear Mr Whitecross talking about libraries today. We know that he cares about libraries, yet he would not amend the budget when it came to the item on libraries. It is a shame that Mr Whitecross does not act on his words when he has the opportunity.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The discussion has concluded.

Report on Contaminated Sites

MR MOORE (4.12): I present Report No. 12 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled "The adequacy of processes relating to identifying and managing contaminated sites in the ACT", together with the extracts of minutes of proceedings, and I move:

That the report be noted.

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