The Baillieu Government is feeling the pressure to reverse its decision to dramatically cut funding from public libraries as the community steps up its campaign, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne said today.
Local Government Minister, Jeanette Powell pulled out of a scheduled radio interview at the last minute, leaving Mr Baillieu to answer questions about the library funding cuts.
“It was clear last night the pressure was getting to Ms Powell, who decided to avoid scrutiny by cancelling the interview rather than answering the tough questions,” Mr Wynne said.
“The Premier was clearly uncomfortable with the fact his Government’s decision could see further cuts to libraries hours.
“The community campaign to reverse this decision is gaining momentum and Victorians aren’t prepared to let the Government short-change our libraries.”
Mr Wynne said Mr Baillieu predictably blamed everyone else for what was clearly a decision of his Government to strip cash from Victoria’s public libraries.
“When coming to Government last November, Ms Powell would have been briefed by her Department on all of the funding agreements in her portfolio,” he said.
“If Ms Powell was concerned about funding agreements for libraries, she had an opportunity to address this in the May Budget, but she failed to do so.
“Mr Baillieu’s decision will stop Victorian public libraries providing the quality service that the community has come to expect.
“Labor has a proud record of supporting public libraries, and the community has made it clear they want to see this support continued by the Baillieu Government.”