Ivanhoe Library

Mr CARBINES (Ivanhoe) (19:20:42) — (13 801) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Local Government, and the action I seek is the minister’s support for the Living Libraries Infrastructure program for the Ivanhoe library in my electorate. The Ivanhoe library is a member of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library, which provides library services for some 115 000 members across the Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Banyule council areas. That is 31 per cent of a population of nearly 400 000 people. It has 155 staff and 3.6 million loans a year.

But the Ivanhoe library, built in the 1960s, up there with the historic Heidelberg town hall, does not have lift access. It is a two‑storey building and you have got to work your way up a couple of flights of stairs to access parts of the library service there. It is a fantastic library in very difficult circumstances and conditions. We have staff providing excellent services to the local community, but of course what we provided in the 1960s is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.

In the community consultation plan, in February 2017, Cate said in relation to the plan for the new Ivanhoe library and cultural hub:

Finally, a plan to bring the Ivanhoe library into the 21st century … Libraries nowadays are vibrant areas that create community and encourage participation in a range of activities …

I agree that it is not just about borrowing a couple of books; it is about access to the internet and it is an opportunity for people in the community to come and read the papers and to get engaged and involved. We know, as a family with a young daughter, it is a place for activities, a place for parents to come and meet and an opportunity for some time out and to allow children to get involved in a range of activities. As someone who was chair of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library when I was a Banyule city councillor, I know the value of the library services that we provide right across Nillumbik, Banyule and Whittlesea.

What I would say is the libraries in the Banyule City Council area do not reflect some of the libraries that we have seen in places like the electorate of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, who is at the table, out at Mill Park. Certainly we do not have those sorts of facilities in Ivanhoe. For too long Ivanhoe residents have funded and resourced services to the north of the municipality because of the capacity that people in Ivanhoe have had to generate a lot of the wealth and opportunity for those across the municipality. But it is time for a new Ivanhoe library. It is time for the community in the south of my electorate to get the services they deserve. The Living Libraries Infrastructure program provides opportunities for the government to provide those services, and I am hopeful the minister will support the grant.