Efficiency dividends remain an appropriate way to trim costs in the national cultural institutions as long as they are receiving adequate funding, Australia's Finance Minister has said.
Katy Gallagher said the problem for the institutions - which include the National Library, Gallery and Museum - was efficiency dividends had applied while they had not been granted enough money.
"Putting a productivity efficiency component into any funding I think is a responsible part of government and making sure we keep the budget on a sustainable footing," Senator Gallagher said.
The union representing staff at the institutions again called on the government to remove the efficiency dividend and develop a sustainable funding model.
"Long-term funding certainty is sorely needed to ensure all our cultural institutions can undertake strategic forward planning and reverse the steep decline they are facing," Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said.
Senator Gallagher on Monday announced the National Library's Trove platform, which provides access to digitised library material including newspapers, manuscripts and photographs, would receive $33 million over four years to keep it running.
However, an efficiency dividend is set to remain in place, which the institutions and critics have warned severely limit the institutions' ability to maintain ageing infrastructure or nationally important collections.
Senator Gallagher on Monday said the national institutions had not been treated properly by the previous government and the federal Labor government had heard the feedback from the sector and the community.
"I think Australians will welcome the fact they've got a government that's taking the ... sustainable funding of these institutions seriously," she said.
When the National Library opened in its current building in 1968, the reading rooms were open on weekdays from 9.30am to 10pm, a Canberra Times article accessible in Trove reveals. The reading rooms are now open 10am to 8pm on Monday to Thursday, and close at 5pm on Fridays, the library's website notes.
The Hawke Labor government introduced an efficiency dividend in 1987, which resulted in a 1.25 per cent reduction in government organisations' funding annually.
Critics - including Australian National University history professor Frank Bongiorno - have argued the national institutions are required to grow their collections by law, making them unfit to sustain continued cuts to funding.
The National Gallery in December warned the federal government it may have to shut two days a week to save money or reintroduce entry fees, as a result of a potential $265 million shortfall over the coming decade.
Senator Gallagher said she hoped the institutions and the government would reach an agreeable solution on funding, but indicated comparing services offered by the National Library now to the past, before the internet had made its collection more accessible, was inappropriate.
"It is subjective what adequate funding is, but we're trying to do the right thing in what the budget can afford," she said.
"It can't afford everything because we've got calls everywhere else - from the NDIS, from health, from national security. I mean, putting a budget together is, I guess, a balancing out of all those decisions."
Funding for the Trove service, which launched in 2009 and is free to access, had been due to expire on June 30. The federal government also announced an extra $9.2 million in annual funding from 2027-28, which would be indexed annually.
National Library director-general Marie-Louise Ayres said in a statement she was delighted with the funding for Trove.
"I've spent much of my NLA career working on Trove and predecessor services and am absolutely thrilled that its future is now secured," Dr Ayres said.
"Trove exemplifies the very best things about Australia - innovation, collaboration, community engagement, a curious spirit, and the belief that our history and heritage should be available to all."
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