The Albanese Labor Government will secure the long-term future of Trove, one of Australia’s most significant historical and cultural resources.
The Government will provide the National Library of Australia with $33 million over four years in the Budget – avoiding the funding cliff left by the previous Government.
This is yet another example of the Albanese Government having to clean up the mess left behind by the former Coalition Government.
Crucially, the Government is also committing to providing $9.2 million in indexed ongoing annual funding beyond the forward estimates. This will end the funding uncertainty once and for all and secure Trove for future generations.
The previous Liberal and National Government made a decision that Trove funding would end on 30 June this year.
Despite racking up a trillion dollars of debt, they had neglected to fund the ongoing operation of essential Government services such as Trove.
This funding is consistent with the Government’s commitment in Revive, our national cultural policy, to support our national collecting institutions to digitise and provide broad public access to their collections.
Trove is the single point of entry to the collections of hundreds of Australian libraries, universities, museums, galleries and archives.
With over 14 billion digitised artefacts and stories from Australia’s cultural, community and research institutions, Trove makes our nation’s history accessible to all Australians, wherever they live.
Trove’s collection of 26 million newspaper pages makes it indispensable to academics, researchers and historical societies as well as to ordinary Australians keen to understand the history of their families or their communities.
Trove hosts some of Australia’s most important cultural collections, including Austlang – the vocabulary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages maintained by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Trove also contains digital copies of Banjo Paterson’s original manuscript of Waltzing Matilda, an architect’s model of the Sydney Opera House, the voice of Lionel Rose and radio stories from the ABC chronicling the first mentions of a new invention called ‘wi-fi’.
Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said this Government was very aware of the significance of Trove and the importance of safeguarding its future. “Trove is, in many ways, Australia’s digital memory,” said Minister Burke.
“It records and retains some of our most important stories, moments, challenges, controversies and successes in one accessible location.”
“Whether you’re using it to look up a bit of family history, or for academic research – Trove is an incredibly important part of our national cultural institutions.”
“This funding helps restore and maintain our strong cultural infrastructure – a key pillar of Revive, the Government’s new National Cultural Policy.
“It takes us a step closer to ending the budget cuts and culture wars of the previous government,” said Minister Burke.
Minister for Finance and Senator for ACT, Katy Gallagher, said that this funding certainty will mean that Trove and the National Library can keep doing what they do best – collecting and preserving today’s stories for future generations.
“We know just how important Trove is to so many Australians and the Albanese Government is pleased to be able to provide our National Library the funding needed to finally take Trove off of life support,” said Senator Gallagher.
“Without this funding Trove would simply cease to exist in a few short months – and with that, free, digital access to much of Australia’s history would be denied to millions of Australians.”
Image: National Library of Australia (sourced)