Over the moon: Karen McDonald stands in the current Grafton library with her kids who are home-schooled and borrow over 40 books a fortnight from the current library.
Over the moon: Karen McDonald stands in the current Grafton library with her kids who are home-schooled and borrow over 40 books a fortnight from the current library.

Labor pledges $8m library for Page

KAREN McDonald was delivered the best news she had heard during the election campaign yesterday when it was announced, if re-elected, the Gillard Labor government will commit $8 million towards construction of a new Grafton library.

Mrs McDonald joined incumbent Member for Page, Labor's Janelle Saffin, and Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson for the announcement, which would make the task of home schooling her seven children much easier.

Currently home schooling six of her eight children, Mrs McDonald said the family borrows an average of 40 books per fortnight from the Grafton Library.

“Having a library that will have more natural light, house more books, better computer equipment, be single level and have its own internal toilet facilities will make a visit to the library much easier for young families,” she said.

In her 14 years living and home schooling in Grafton, Mrs McDonald said she had watched the current library outgrow itself.

“The current library has poor access for strollers because it is a split level, and there are no toilets here, plus the shelf space is limited,” she said.

Aware of the dire need for a new library in Grafton, Ms Saffin said she lobbied hard to secure the funding.

“This is a great win for the community and something that I have been fighting for,” she said.

Ms Saffin said she was approached by Clarence Valley Council to see if they could form a partnership to deliver the new library for Grafton.

“As the Mayor said 150,000 people use the library each year. The current library has outgrown the usage of it,” she said. Cr Williamson said if Labor is re-elected he hoped construction would start at the western end of the Pound Street car park within a year. .

“The construction of the library will cost between $9.5 and $10 million dollars ... the shortfall will be found through other grants available to council,” he said.

Along with the $240,000 for Meals on Wheels Iluka, Ms Saffin was joined by Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Simon Crean where she pledged $2.4 million for a soccer institute in Lismore.

Ms Saffin's National Party opponent Kevin Hogan said he would not commit to matching the funding yesterday, but will announce his election promises before Saturday's poll.

“We will be making our announcements in the timescale we agreed on,” he said.



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