Victorian councils set to fight library funding cuts
Victorian councils have responded angrily to the Baillieu government’s decision to cut funding to municipal libraries, and are mounting a campaign against the move.
The funding cuts, which have not been announced publicly but were revealed in a state government funding agreement that was circulated after most councils had adopted their annual budgets, will remove $5 million annually from Victorian local library budgets over four years and increases for inflation will not be paid.
The Municipal Association of Victoria, the peak body for Victorian councils, has estimated there will be a $130,000 cut this year but without standard indexation increases, the shortfall will be closer to $800,000.
The MAV has demanded a review of the decision and called on councils to refuse to sign the funding agreement.
MAV president Bill MacArthur said the decision was “very unacceptable as there's been no consultation with local government and libraries prior to the invoices going out".
He said the cuts could result in restricted opening hours, a reduction in new books purchased and a reduction in staff.