Sartor calls for library funding review

PERHAPS Frank Sartor is listening after all.

The NSW Arts Minister this week announced a review of public library funding in the State, to 'help ensure libraries retain their important role in local communities'.

The review, which is due to report to the Government by the end of the year, follows lobbying by Coffs Harbour City Council for more library funding.

Only last month, Cr Bill Palmer, who chairs the council's city services committee, said while libraries were an essential community facility, they were not getting the funding required to keep pace with population growth.

And the council's city services director, Jason Gordon, said while library funding had increased annually, so had resources and staff costs. But at the time, Mr Sartor's office appeared less than sympathetic to their pleas for help, telling the Advocate local government was the principal funding body for public libraries in NSW.

On Tuesday, however, Mr Sartor had a change of heart.

He said the review by former Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal chairman Dr Tom Parry would help ensure government funding was distributed in the most effective way.

"Dr Parry will look at a range of relevant issues, including local government funding for public libraries, and the areas in greatest need of public funding support," he said.

Mr Sartor said since 1995, State Government funding to the public library network had increased by almost 40 per cent to $23.5 million.

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