The National Library will be the first victim of the Turnbull government’s shameful multi-million dollar cuts to Australia’s flagship cultural institutions, with key services and personnel facing the axe.

According to reports today, the nation’s book repository will lose 22 full time-equivalent staff by the end of next financial year.

Key services affected include:

  • Public exhibitions
  • The collection of international subscriptions, including Asian-language texts
  • The vital task of digitalisation of its massive collections, necessary so that publications can be kept safe for future generations
  • Trove, a fantastic searchable online database of Australian texts, which will stop collecting content from museums and universities until it receives more funding.

The collection of our cultural history as a nation is at risk. National Library Director General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said the $4.4 million cut the institution was forced to absorb over the next two financial years would have a “grave impact”, and she was not joking. 

Labor calls on the government and new arts minister Mitch Fifield to reverse the abhorrent cuts he inherited from the Abbott government, before more of our national cultural institutions are affected.

Shadow Minister for the Arts Mark Dreyfus said: “As the institution which keeps all publications released in Australia, the National Library is one of our most vital cultural institutions. Not only does it serve the purpose of collecting texts, it also makes reams of information easily accessible for academics, students, researchers and average Australians interested in their history.”

“For the Library to be affected so drastically by these Turnbull government cuts is a disgrace. It is no less than the repository of our collective identity as a society. Minister Fifield must reverse these cuts and ensure the vital services and exhibitions provided by our beloved gallery can continue.” 

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher said: “Malcolm Turnbull pretends to be a friend of the arts but his government’s cuts paint a different picture.”

“Canberra has suffered more than enough under this government and the cuts to jobs must stop. These cuts are not just a savings line in a budget - these are real people who will lose their jobs thanks to this government and their total disregard for the role Canberra plays as the nation’s capital.” 


Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

This is a joint release with Labor's Shadow Arts Minister Mark Dreyfus MP.


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  • Katy Gallagher
    published this page in Media 2016-02-23 12:59:52 +1100