Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Statements by Members
National Library of Australia
This week staff at the National Library in my electorate of Canberra were faced with the grim reality of looming job cuts. Twenty-two jobs out of a total 415 full-time positions will be cut—that is, over five per cent of the workforce—thanks to this government stripping $4.4 million from the Library over four years. Director-General, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said that these cuts will have grave impact on the library's operations and services.
In addition to job losses, the Turnbull government's cuts will affect: public exhibitions; the collection of international subscriptions, including Asian-language texts; the vital task of digitalisation of our massive collections, necessary so that publications can be kept safe for future generations; Trove, which is a fantastic searchable online database of Australian texts. Trove will stop collecting content from museums and universities until it receives more funding.
The National Library is the repository of our collective identity. It provides a vital service by keeping every publication released in Australia and making reams of information easily accessible to all Australians. To make matters worse, we know that the Library is just the first of our flagship cultural intuitions to cut staff and services thanks to the Turnbull government's shameful funding cuts. The Prime Minister must immediately reverse these disgraceful cuts to the National Library and to our other cultural institutions to ensure Australia's heritage is protected and preserved for generations to come.