NSW Public Libraries Funding – GIPA Treasure Trove

Recently we received our Government Information (Public Access) request on the 2012 funding review of NSW public libraries. To access the full suite of released documents click here.

We have analysed the documents provided under the GIPA request and developed a short presentation which you can check out by clicking “Start Prezi” below (or by clicking here).

The NSW Legislative Council recently passed my motion on Public Library funding. Watch the video of the debate here.

The text of the motion is below. To read the full debate, click here.

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [10.48 a.m.]: I move:

        (1) That this House notes that:
          (a) libraries are a fundamental part of the educational and cultural vibrancy of community;
          (b) libraries provide life learning and opportunities for social interaction;
          (c) under the terms of the Library Act 1939 the State Library of New South Wales administers the Government’s Public Library Grants and Subsidies program, which provides funding on an annual basis to local authorities to assist in the provision of public library services throughout New South Wales;
          (d) Arts NSW via State cultural institutions manages significant cultural heritage collections and provides services and programs throughout the State, and together these institutions provide a unique and irreplaceable archive of the State’s history and contemporary culture; and
          (e) the Library Act 1939 and the library regulation state that:
            (i) “State and Local Government authorities work collaboratively together to enable public libraries in New South Wales to meet the evolving needs and demands of the community”;
            (ii) the age of a collection is a key consideration when determining the adequacy of a public library;
            (iii) the Library Council of NSW “Age of Collections” standards state that at least 49 per cent of the collection has been purchased in the last five years and 90 per cent of the collection has been purchased in the last 10 years; and
            (iv) the size of a public library’s collection should respond to the changing and growing size of a community.
      (2) That this House notes that:
          (a) in 1939 New South Wales councils were eligible for a subsidy from the Government for the provision of library services, and under section 13 (2) (b) of the original Library Act 1939 the subsidy was set at one shilling per resident within the council area;
          (b) in 1952 the subsidy rate under the Library Act was set at one shilling and sixpence per resident within a council area;
          (c) in 1979-80, $8,478,905 was spent by the Government on public library services while total local government expenditure in 1980 was $27,517,031;
          (d) in 2010-11 expenditure by local government on public library services was $314,284,780, whereas expenditure by the Government was $25,538,000, which includes $2 million for the Country Library Fund; and
          (e) from 1979-80 to 2010-11 the percentage of funding provided by local government to public libraries increased from 74.6 per cent of the total funding on an annual basis to 92.5 per cent, while Government funding decreased from 23.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent on an annual basis.
        (3) That this House calls on the Government to:
          (a) review the subsidy rate of $1.85 prescribed in the Library Regulation 2010 and index the subsidy rate to the consumer price index [CPI]; and
          (b) review restoring Government funding for public libraries from the current 7.5 per cent to 20 per cent.






Residential Parks Open Data Challenge Update

The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013 passed the New South Wales Legislative Council on Nov 12, 2013. You can access the debate here.

We want to make it clear that even though the Bill has passed through NSW Parliament, we are still welcoming participation and input on the NSW Legislation Open Data Challenge. Please keep sending in photos, stories, data and suggestions for the project.

With the support of the Labor Party, Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers Party we were able to establish an inquiry looking at social and affordable housing in NSW. We would encourage you to make submissions to this inquiry. The terms of reference for the inquiry are here.

We have started analyzing the data and have pulled together a short Prezi presentation which can be found below. This is very much a work in progress and we will update it more as we receive more information.


Residential Parks (DraftNov15)

NSW Legislation Open Data Creative Challenge

Greens MP and Housing & Arts spokesperson Jan Barham is inviting graphic designers, creative artists, data analysts, policy wonks, geospatial information system (GIS) specialists, residential park residents and ‘open/public data’ aficionados to participate in a New South Wales Legislation Open Data Challenge.

Jan is seeking data analysis, apps, data visualisations, multimedia presentations and open source data collection to help NSW politicians and communities get a more informed picture of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013. With better information we can hopefully get an improved policy and legislation outcome for all residents of residential parks in NSW.


The NSW Government has recently introduced the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013[1]. The Bill reforms the way caravan parks and manufactured home estates are managed and governed in NSW.

These parks are not just places for tourists and campers having a week away on NSW’s beautiful coast or regional towns. Caravan parks (also known as residential parks) are home to approximately 33,000 permanent residents. In regional and rural communities residential parks play an important part in the affordable housing mix. For a more detailed background on the legislation please the material below.

Why an Open Data Challenge?

Often governments make important policy decisions that affect the everyday lives of citizens without sufficient evidence or information. In other instances, government agencies maintain a monopoly over what really should be public information.  

The aim of this Open Data Challenge is to involve people in the review of laws and public policy by analysing open/publicly available data in innovative ways and to create data visualisations that help tell important stories in a more accessible way. We believe an online community from all parts of NSW and potentially Australia can make an important contribution to public policy through such an initiative.

In this specific circumstance, the aim is to achieve greater insight into the demographic profile of residential park residents, a geospatial understanding of residential parks and a data rich perspective on park operation.

Submissions and information provided as part of the Open Data Challenge will be presented to the NSW Press Gallery during debate on the legislation and posted on Jan’s website. All works will be fully attributed to authors/participants and we will tweet your contribution to our networks. This is a great opportunity to showcase your open data collection, design, analysis or programming skills and promote your work.

How to Participate

  1. Start by downloading the existing data resources on Jan’s website (see below) and review the suggested approaches, but feel free to think outside the square.
  2. Take a look at other open/public data collection and data visualisation projects for further ideas.
  3. Send your data visualisations, apps, designs or open data analysis work to jan.barham@parliament.nsw.gov.au with your full details and a brief explanation of how you put your work together. Please submit all work before Nov 21, 2013 for inclusion in the project.
  4. We will be using the twitter hashtag #nswdatachallenge to exchange ideas, have Q&A, provide updates on the progress of legislation and share project work.

Some suggested projects include:

  • Keyword analysis of Parliamentary Speeches, Ministerial Press Releases and Department of Fair Trading material on the legislation and historical amendments to the Residential Parks Act 1998.
  • GIS and location analysis involving plotting of residential parks and other location information such as crown land reserves, service mapping, house price rises by postcode or population movements for example.
  • Data visualisations, graphs or multimedia including images of caravan parks in NSW
  • Data analysis and graphics using NSW Government data, open source data or ABS data (ABS Table Builder) exploring resident and caravan park demographics. This might include using ABS data to examine demographics and parks communities.
  • Review and analysis of Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal data on Residential Parks cases.
  • Social media network analysis and visualisation of key stakeholders using programs such as Gelphi.

Want further information about the Open Data Challenge?

If you want to discuss your project/contribution with us or seek clarification on the type of work we want to encourage, please feel free to contact us at jan.barham@parliament.nsw.gov.au, tweet us at @janbarham, call us on (02) 9230 2204 or use the twitter hashtag #nswdatachallenge.


Click here for the New South Wales Minister for Fair Trading’s 2nd Reading on the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013.

Click here for the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013 .

Click here for a breakdown by year of Residential Park matters taken on the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribubal (CTTT). Park and estate residents and managers can take disputes to the CTTT to resolve issues such as contract breaches, rent increases  or rental bonds to name a few. The data is taken from CTTT annual reports which can be accessed here.

Click here for a KML file which includes location information on parks taken from the NSW Residential Parks Register.To open the KML file use a GIS program or Google Earth which will plot the various park locations in NSW.

Click here for a excel spreadsheet of residential parks listed by Local Government Area (LGA). Included in the spreadsheet is LGA population, rate of park presence per population, Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). Many more data sets could be added using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) resources.

Submissions on the draft exposure Bill by key stakeholders – ARPRA (Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association NSW) and Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

Visit the NSW Open Data Site and search data by NSW Government Department

Image credit:

Above: Twofold Bay Beach Caravan Park CC-BY-NC-ND by KMJPhotography (TillyDog)

Front page: Terrigal Haven Caravan Park CC-BY-NC by Gostalgia: Local history from Gosford Library, from the collection of the late Doug and Margaret Parton of Toukley.

Promoting Wellbeing for Children and Young People: The Challenge of Child Poverty

Wednesday, 7 August 2013, 2pm-4:30pm
Jubilee Room
NSW Parliament House
Macquarie Street, Sydney

Recent debates about the adequacy of parenting payments and issues of child welfare have highlighted just some of the challenges to enhancing children’s wellbeing. This forum will bring together the experience and insights of representatives from the social service and child welfare sectors, along with representatives of children and young people, to discuss the crucial issues of enhancing wellbeing and eliminating poverty for children and young people. Members of the public as well as stakeholders from other organisations are invited to attend and to participate in the discussion about the causes and impacts of child and youth poverty, and the way forward in improving social and economic circumstances for our children and young people.

Metiria Turei

With special guest Metiria Turei, co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand and spokesperson for Social Equity (http://www.greens.org.nz/endchildpoverty)
Panel of speakers and discussants includes:

  • Alison Peters, Director, Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS)
  • Andrew McCallum, CEO, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)
  • Vicki Curran, Wollongong City Councillor and social justice advocate
  • Madeleine Read, CREATE Foundation
  • Chris, a young person in care

Hosted by Jan Barham, Greens MLC and spokesperson on Family and Community Services

RSVP to Jan Barham’s office, jan.barham@parliament.nsw.gov.au, (02) 9230 2603.

Increase state funding for public libraries: Sign the petition; Request the stickers

Public libraries are a vital community service. But the NSW Government’s contribution to library funding hasn’t kept pace with rising costs, which has seen the burden shift across to local government. Councils now contribute more than 90% of the funding for public libraries; thirty years ago, their contribution was around three-quarters.

Here’s how you can show your support for public libraries:

  1. Download this petition. Sign it yourself, collect as many signatures as you can, send send it to Jan Barham’s office. Your signatures will be tabled in Parliament.
  2. Request stickers from Jan Barham’s office – email jan.barham@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call (02) 9230 2603 and let us know how many you would like and where to send them.

Increase State Funding for Public Libraries

Petition – Recognition of Forced Adoption Practices

Help provide ongoing recognition of forced adoption practices – Download the petition

The NSW Government delivered an Apology for Forced Adoption Practices on 20th September 2012, which was adopted by both Houses of the NSW Parliament (view Jan Barham’s apology speech on YouTube). The Australian Government has also delivered its apology on 21st March 2013. The governments of each other state and territory have also delivered an apology, or have announced their intention to do so.

But apology is only one step in the process of reconciliation and reparation following an injustice. Ongoing acknowledgement of the impact of forced adoption practices, and awareness of the apology delivered to those affected, are important next steps. On behalf of The Greens, Jan Barham has a motion before the Parliament calling on the Government to:

  • establish an annual Day of Recognition of Forced Adoption Practices,
  • construct a public memorial to commemorate the apology to those affected by forced adoption practices in NSW, and
  • develop information resources and a communications strategy to raise public awareness of past forced adoption practices and the traumatic effects of forced adoptions, and to highlight the support services available to those affected by forced adoption practices.

These would be significant acts of acknowledgement that could have a lasting impact. This is something the NSW Government should adopt as a permanent recognition of forced adoptions, and of their apology.

You can help to show the Government that this is a motion worth supporting. Download the petition, sign it yourself, then collect as many signatures as you can and send it to Jan’s office. When Parliament resumes on 20th August, Jan will be able to table the petition in the NSW Legislative Council, formally recording that there is public support for these three actions.

Download the petition here. The address to return your petitions is at the bottom of the sheet. If you have any questions or would like to raise any issues, please contact Jan’s office – email jan.barham@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call (02) 9230 2603.

Byron CSG rally video

Watch the video Sharon Shostak made about the CSG rally in Byron in Oct 2011. Jan was interviewed, along with Ian Cohen. Jeremy Buckingham’s staffer Justin Field spoke at the rally, which is included in the footage. Watch the video HERE.

Some photos were also taken on the day, follow the link to Jan’s Flickr page, or click HERE.


Petition for essential Leaving Care Plans for Young People

Create Foundation have released a report that over 60% of children in the care of the Minister or in out of home care do not have leaving care plans. A recent SMH article highlighted the challenges faced by young people leaving care.

In the first year after leaving care, CREATE has found that when young people turn 18, in NSW, they are less likely than those in other states to have a Leaving Care Plan, and up to one third may become homeless after leaving care. 

Care leavers are more likely to be unemployed than others in this age group and are also more likely to spend time in prison. Barnardos have found that one in seven young people leaving care are either pregnant or already mothers.

Leaving Care Plans should be available to all of these vulnerable young people so that they can make a start on developing the life skills they will need to look after themselves in the adult world. This should include an introduction to training, further education or employment.

Add your voice to those calling for proper support of young people leaving care. Download a petition here.