Asked 17 August 2023
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel Payne – South-Eastern Metropolitan Region
To ask the Minister for Child Protection and Family Services (for the Minister for Local Government):
My constituency question is for the Minister for Local Government. My constituent is a resident of Greater Dandenong city. As a young university student, she is rightly frustrated at the lack of public library facilities in her area. Greater Dandenong has one of the lowest public libraries per capita ratios in metropolitan Melbourne and is one of the highest population growth areas, so my constituent asks: what is the minister doing to encourage improved library access for the young and rapidly growing population of Greater Dandenong?
Received: 31 August 2023
Hon. Melissa Horne MP
(Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Local Government, Minister for Ports and Freight, Minister for Roads and Road Safety)
I thank the Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan Region for her question regarding access to public libraries and, in particular, libraries in the Greater Dandenong area.
It is a matter for each of Victoria’s councils to determine their own council budgets in consultation with the community. Similarly, all decisions regarding service delivery, programming, and the development of infrastructure for public libraries are made at the local level and library services are not directed by the Victorian Government.
The Victorian Government recognises the vital role of public libraries in fostering lifelong learning, facilitating access to information – both print and digital – and providing safe, supported community spaces for people to engage in a wide range of activities in all Victorian communities.
The Victorian Government continues to support Victoria’s councils in delivering public library services to their communities and I am pleased to advise that the funding provided to support public libraries in 2023-24 has been maintained in the recent Victorian budget.
This funding includes the $4.5 million Living Libraries Infrastructure Program which funds new, redeveloped, or refurbished public library infrastructure and new or updated mobile libraries.
Under this program, the City of Greater Dandenong received $1 million in 2020 for the construction of a community hub in Keysborough South. This will provide much needed community access to childcare, maternal and child health, satellite library services and community meeting rooms. This project is also supported by a $6.12 million loan from the Victorian Government’s 2020-21 Community Infrastructure Loans Scheme.