WA State Library Budget – update

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Since Monday, FAIR supporters have been rallying around the WA State Library following news of State Government threats to its budget.

More than 250 emails from FAIR supporters have been sent to the WA Arts Minister, John Day, opposing budget cuts to the WA State Library which may see reduced opening hours and may prevent it from providing essential library services to the WA community.

Budget cuts to the WA State Library may affect the 232 public libraries across WA to which the State Library provides support services.

The ABC reported that the State Library board had been warned many small regional and remote public libraries would close if it stopped the services it currently provides to them.

But it seems FAIR supporters have made an impact.

Mr Day this morning told the ABC that while options are being explored to find savings, they had not yet been agreed to by the Government.

Mr Day said: ‘And certainly any decision that would result in the closure of public libraries around Western Australia would be strongly opposed by me and it's not going to happen.’

Read the ABC story

While the Minister vowed no libraries would close on the ABC, he did not provide that assurance in the statement provided to the media: 

‘The Culture and the Arts portfolio, including the State Library of Western Australia, is part of the Agency Expenditure Review group announced by the Treasurer last year. 

 Current discussions about the State Library’s budget are theoretical. The Library is part of a wider budget process and no decisions have been made.   

 The State Government currently has no intention of reducing the number of opening hours at the State Library or changing regional library resourcing.

 I agree that maintaining access to public libraries throughout the State, regional and metropolitan, is essential.’

FAIR will continue to monitor this issue in the lead up to the WA Budget.

We still think that emails protesting any budget cuts to the WA State Library should continue to be sent to the Minister’s office in the lead up to the State Budget.

Seven News has today reported the WA Budget will be handed down on Wednesday 14 May - this is a week later than originally scheduled to include up-to-date estimates of the State’s GST payments.