At the Public Libraries Forum in early May, Kate Macnaught from SOLGM announced that Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill was proceeding at pace through Parliament. There was audible approval and excitement from public library managers at this news. The Act has now been approved by Parliament.
The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill has restored the “four well-beings” to the statutory purpose of local government and gives local councils back the ability to collect development contributions in order to fund increased demand for community facilities, such as libraries, sports grounds and swimming pools resulting from developments. Previous National-led administrations had narrowed the statutory purpose of local government to focus only on service delivery and not broader community well-being.
LIANZA’s submission stated that “Libraries are not a nice to have recreational resource. They play a vital role in social development and equity.” The strong contribution of libraries in achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals was also highlighted, in particular delivering access to information which underpins these goals: SDG 4 Quality education, SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 10 Reduced inequalities and SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities.
LIANZA is encouraged by the passing of the amendment bill and the possibility of strengthening public library provision.
You can read the amended bill here.