Stop the cost-shifting: It’s time to increase state funding for libraries

The upcoming NSW Budget should support public libraries and reduce the burden on financially-stretched councils, says the Greens’ Arts spokesperson, Jan Barham.

“Successive state Governments have allowed the share of funding they provide for library services to decline, putting pressure on local government to make up the shortfall,” Ms Barham said.

“The state Government subsidy to local libraries has remained at $1.85 per capita for over a decade while costs have continued to rise and libraries have delivered new, 21st century services. In 1979/80, the NSW Government contributed 24% of the funding for public libraries, but by 2010/11 their share had dropped to less than 10%.”

A recent report on the National Welfare & Economic Contributions of Public Libraries, commissioned by the Australian Library and Information Association, estimated that every dollar spent by NSW public libraries brings $3.20 in benefits to communities.

“As well as their collections and services, public libraries promote social interaction, reduce environmental impacts through re-use and are a source of lifelong education and self-development. The contribution to our sense of community from libraries is something we can’t afford to lose.”

Ms Barham has launched a bumper sticker campaign and is calling on people to show their support for public libraries.

“Library funding is an investment in community and social capital. The Government’s contribution to libraries should reflect the valuable opportunities for learning and community connections they provide,” Ms Barham said.

Contribution of Australian Public Libraries report

Stickers available from Jan’s office

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Show your support for public libraries

Increase State Funding for Public Libraries

Did you know that for decades now, NSW Governments have failed to keep up their fair share of funding for public libraries?

The subsidy to local libraries has stayed at $1.85 per capita while costs have continued to rise and libraries have delivered new, 21st century services.

The result has been cost-shifting to local government. In 1979/80, councils paid around three-quarters of the funding for public libraries, but by 2010/11 their share of the costs had risen to more than 90%.

The recent Contribution of Australian Public Libraries research report commissioned by the Australian Library and Information Association estimates that every dollar spent by NSW public libraries brings $3.20 in benefits to communities.

Show your support for libraries.

Contact Jan’s office and we’ll send out stickers – email or call (02) 9230 2603 and let us know how many you would like and where to send them.

Jan Barham’s motion on public library funding (notice given 26 March 2013):

1. That this House notes that:

(a) libraries are a fundamental part of the educational and cultural vibrancy of community, providing life learning and opportunities for social interaction,

(b) 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,

(c) Arts NSW, via the New South Wales state cultural institutions, manage significant cultural heritage collections and provide 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

(d) 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

(iii) the Library Council of NSW “Age of Collections” standards states 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,

(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 1979/80, $8,478,905 was spent by the State Government on public library services while total local government expenditure in 1980 was $ 27,517,031,

(b) in 2010/11, expenditure by local government on public library services was $314,284,780, whereas expenditure by the State Government was $25, 538,000, which includes $2 million for the Country Library fund, and

(c) from 1979/80 to 2010/11, the percentage of funding provided by local government to public libraries has increased from 74.6 per cent of the total funding on an annual basis to 92.5 per cent, while State Government funding has decreased from 23.6 per cent to 7.5per cent on an annual basis.

3. That this House calls on the Government to increase the State Government funding for public libraries to reinstate the previous 1980 level of contribution of 23.6 per cent.

It’s time to speak up: Secure a digital future for community radio

Greens MP and spokesperson for the arts, Jan Barham, is calling for public support to secure community radio’s future in the digital era. Her call comes after the NSW upper house supported the Greens’ motion on funding for digital community radio.

“Community radio stations are a vital service across the state, and eight stations have commenced digital community radio services in Sydney. But the Federal Government needs to add another $1.4 million in next month’s budget or those services may be forced off the air,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham has urged people to join the Commit to Community Radio campaign, an initiative of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, ahead of the Federal Budget.

“Community radio stations fill the gaps that commercial and public broadcasters fail to cover. Community radio is largely supported by thousands of volunteers and actually helps the industry by providing a fertile training ground,” Ms Barham said.

“Community radio services local communities with vital information and news, provides a platform for new and emerging Australian musicians, and supports a wide variety of community interest groups, including culturally and linguistically diverse groups.”

“As listeners move across to digital radio, community stations need adequate funding to ensure the important services they provide can continue.”

“The NSW upper house backed my motion supporting community radio, but now the Federal Government needs to hear a groundswell of public support,” Ms Barham said.

“We need the community to shout loud and clear that they want community radio to continue, and not to be lost from the digital radio landscape. Almost 40,000 people have already joined the Commit to Community Radio campaign, but the time to speak up is right now. Sign the petition online, write to your Federal MP, support your local community radio station and those that are at risk from the funding shortfall.”

Support the Commit to Community Radio campaign at

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

The full motion supporting community radio stations is available here:

Funding for music events

At the beginning of January, NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon. George Souris announced the recipients of $110,000 in grant funding to assist young people stage their own all ages, drug and alcohol free music events. Young people across the State were invited to apply for grant funding through the “Indent” program which gives participant the skills, resources and support to stage their own music events. Keep an eye on the indent website for information about applications for 2013

Congratulations to all the recipients:

$5,000 Event Development Grant:
– Youth of Bland Shire
, West Wyalong
– Youth Entertainment Reference Group
, Campbelltown
– The Loft
, Newcastle
– Outback Indent
, Broken Hill
– Momentum
, Music and Media, Bega

$2,500 Grass Roots Grant:Cowra Youth Council, Cowra
– Rock the YAC Productions
, Byron Bay
– Coolamon Shire Youth Events Team
, Coolamon
– Bathurst Regional Youth Council Events Working Party
, Bathurst
– Mid-Western Regional Youth Council
, Mudgee
– Rock the Block
, Hornsby
– Bandwagon
, Tamworth
– Cessnock Youth Entertainment Committee (CYEC)
, Cessnock
– Bondi Blitz Planning Committee
, Waverly
– Crankfest Youth Advisory Committee
, Richmond Valley
– The Ragers
, Griffith
– Liquidfest 2012 Committee
, Queanbeyan
– Unleashed,
– Artbeat
, Gosford
– The New What Next
, Rockdale



23rd August 2011


The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, representing the Minister for the Arts. Will the Minister confirm the current levels of funding for public libraries for the past two years under the designated categories used by National and State Libraries Australasia—namely, the overall expenditure, the per capita expenditure and the per capita subsidy?

The Hon. Duncan Gay: That question should be put on notice.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: It is appropriate for that question to be put on notice. However, I will assist the member with her question by referring it to the appropriate Minister and seeking a response.



Ms Barham to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Minister for Tourism Major Events Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts—

  1. Did the State Library of NSW provide advice to the Minister for the Arts or the Department on the recently passed Library Amendment Bill 2011?
  2. if so, what advice was given?



  1. Yes.
  2. The State Library of NSW was consulted in the preparation of the Bill and supported the proposal.


Ms Barham to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Minister for Tourism Major Events Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts—

  1. Has the Community Development and Support Expenditure (CDSE) Scheme Local Committee been established in every local government area where the category 1 CDSE liability for all participating clubs exceeds $30,000?
  2. How much has been expended on CDSE projects in the 2010⁄11 financial year to date?
  3. Does the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority provide annual reports on expenditure made under the CDSE scheme?
  4. How can members of the public access information on programs funded under the CDSE scheme?
  5. Which programs were funded under category 1 and 2 CDSE in the 2009⁄10 financial year? Please provide a list of all programs.
    1. Has the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority ever requested to see the minutes of a CDSE Scheme Local Committee?
    2. If so, under what circumstances have requests been made?



  1. The CDSE Scheme Guidelines require CDSE local committees to be established in each local government area where the total CDSE Category 1 liability of local qualifying clubs is in excess of $30,000 in the tax year. There is no requirement for the Department of Trade and Investment to keep of a list of the local committees that have been established. ClubsNSW has this information on its website.
  2. Clubs that participate in the CDSE Scheme must submit their annual returns to the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority outlining their CDSE Expenditure by 7 September each year, one week after the end of the gaming machine tax year. The gaming machine tax year is from 1 September to 31 August. Therefore, expenditure figures for the 2010⁄11 tax year are not yet available. 
    For the gaming machine tax year ended 31 August 2010, registered clubs in NSW expended $63.5 million on projects and services under the CDSE Scheme, although only $38.2 could be claimed as a rebate under the scheme.
  3. Information about expenditure made under the CDSE Scheme is included in the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority’s annual report.
  4. and (5) There are legal restrictions imposed under the Gaming Machine Tax Act 2001 on the disclosure of gaming machine revenue and tax details. These restrictions apply to information about CDSE expenditure provided to the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority by registered clubs for the purposes of claiming a gaming machine tax rebate under the scheme. The Gaming Machine Tax Act prevents information relating to an individual club’s expenditure being released to the public, although clubs can choose to provide this information themselves. 
    (6) No.

New South Wales Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize

The role of artists and the important work they do in representing our lives should be recognised and supported. There is nothing better than to have paintings from the Plein Air Exhibition hanging in the foyer of the Parliament for all to see, including students, young people and visitors to the Parliament. Those paintings show the beauty and wonder of the Australian landscape. What a wonderful thing it is for people to be able to venture outdoors to paint in natural light, which is so different to artificial light. I am finding quite interesting how different the world looks through the filter of artificial lights rather than the clarity of daylight and country air.

The Winner of the $20,000 Plein Air Acquisition Prize 2011 is Noel McKenna – ‘My Backyard’

The Plein Air exhibition is a representation of New South Wales through the eyes of artists who have taken the opportunity to venture outdoors and to paint in natural light. This style of painting dates from the late nineteenth century to modern times. I commend the former Labor Government for establishing this acquisitive art prize and the Parliament for supporting it. In society we love to celebrate those artists who gain recognition, particularly those who rise to overseas notoriety. We claim those artists as our own and we celebrate them reaching those high marks but do we recognise the strength and contribution that they make? Only through acquisition prizes do many of them have the ability to continue their work and to purchase the expensive materials that are required to produce good artwork.

Acquisitive prizes have a twofold outcome: they support the artist and they provide the public with an ongoing treasure of works representing who we are and our nature for all to see. I note that Virginia Judge was involved in establishing this prize in her great commitment to the arts. I look forward to this Government continuing to support the Plein Art Prize and expanding its support for the arts. Last week the Local Government Cultural Awards for the Local Government and Shires Associations were held in Parliament House—an issue about which I will speak further later today. The winner of the Essential Energy Art Prize—formerly Country Energy—who is a country person, talked about how often artists feel unappreciated. It is through acquisitive prizes that artists feel acknowledgement: having the opportunity for their work to be shown and perhaps appreciated enough to win a prize so they can sustain themselves.

The life of an artist is a hard one. It’s wonderful that this type of practice is being strongly encouraged through schools and adult education. In my area local environment groups are joining with artists and sharing their experiences in natural environments: conservationists are learning to paint and painters are learning about the nature. This is art being embraced and shared as an important part of our way of life. Not only does it represent the beauty of our world; it also allows people to learn and to appreciate more about life. I think it’s delightful that the paintings are exhibited in the foyer of Parliament House. Each time I walk through the foyer I stop to look at another painting and enjoy that work.

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