NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley has issued a challenge to the Berejiklian Government- for them to match Labor’s funding increase to community libraries, as today marks the start of Library and Information Week for 2018.

A Foley Labor Government has already committed to increasing overall funding to suburban and regional NSW public libraries by $50 million.

This will include a $25 million Public Library Infrastructure Fund and a doubling of the per capita funding subsidy from $1.85 to $3.70 – in the first term of government.

NSW has the lowest per capita investment by a state government in Australia, overshadowed by higher contributions made by the governments in Tasmania and South Australia.

The Liberal-National Government only increased public library funding by $2.1 million over a two-year period in the 2016-17 State Budget.

Mr Foley said there is a stark difference when it comes to the priorities of the opposing governments; while the Berejiklian Government spends $2.3 billion on its Sydney stadium splurge- a Foley Labor Government supports schools, hospitals and libraries.

This is about providing children with the best opportunity to explore and develop a love of reading and learning.

The State Library of NSW administers funding to NSW Public Libraries on an annual basis. There were 34.8 million physical visits to NSW public libraries in 2015-16, and 11 million virtual visits to public library websites.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Labor prefers to invest in schools, hospitals and libraries while the Berejiklian Government has the wrong priorities of splurging on stadiums, the CBD light rail and Westconnex.

“Children deserve the best opportunity to develop a love of reading- after all, many of us started our lifelong journey of education at the local library.

“Local Government is doing more than its fair share for libraries- I’m challenging the Premier to step up and match Labor’s commitment.”