Budget bungle over library
Wednesday, 5th July, 2017
By Andrew Robertson
Mayor Darriea Turley has denied plans to upgrade the library have been dealt a blow after it was revealed City Council is not in line to receive almost $1 million in state government funding.
Council and library supporters were rejoicing when Barwon MP Kevin Humphries last month announced that $900,000 had been set aside in the state budget for “the Broken Hill library upgrade”.
Mr Humphries even had his own suggestion for what the windfall might be used for when he was interviewed on radio. He said while the money wouldn’t be enough to build a new library, as that would cost four or five million dollars, it could certainly be used to progress plans for one.
But yesterday the MP issued another press release to say the $900,000 in the budget wasn’t for the library at all but for an upgrade of an existing “drill core” library in Pinnacles Place.
The EC Andrews Drillcore Facility was built by the NSW Department of Industry several years ago to give the mining industry access to the drill core samples for exploration purposes.
The large shed holds up to 80,000 metres of drill core and includes a core preparation room and core viewing facilities.
“Due to a misunderstanding after the budget announcement on 20 June 2017 ... the funding of almost $1 million for library upgrades is not for the Broken Hill City Library...,” Mr Humphries said in the release.
He added that $200,000 had previously been announced for the BHCC Library “which can now be used for upgrades”.
Mayor Turley said yesterday that the initial announcement from Mr Humphries had surprised Council but it wasn’t about to question the government.
“It wasn’t the money we applied for but we thought if the government wants to give it to us, we will take it,” she said.
While disappointed at the mix-up, the mayor said it wouldn’t jeopardise any plans for the library because a report outlining options for the way forward was still months away.
If anything, she said, it had taken some pressure off councillors because they now had more time in which to have “a frank discussion” about what to do with the ageing library.
“We’re a little disappointed but we’ll take it in our stride and hopefully be considered for Resources for Regions funding.
“It’s a mix up but the money will be well spent on the DC Andrews Drill Core Library.”