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[Education lending rights for authors]

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Media Statement Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP Shadow Minister for the Environment; the Arts; and assisting the Leader of theOpposition on the Status of Women;Member for Fremantle• • •C L4/97 23 January 1997The Federal Oppositjon today said it would make the introduction of acompensation schei-ne for authors whose books are in education libraries akey part of its arts policy at the next election.Addressing a forum at the Sydney Writers' Festival today, Shadow ArtsMinister Dr Carmen Lawrence committed Federal Labor to reinstating thescheme which was dumped by the Howard Government in the FederalBudget."The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Beazley, fully supports the concept ofeducation lending rights for authors and is also committed to reviewing thedraconian changes to the public lending rights scheme which were imposedafter the Budget," she said.The public lending rights scheme, worth $4.8 million last year, was introducedin 1974 to give authors a small return for the income foregone by the inclusionof their books in public lending libraries. In its 1994 Creative Nationstatement, the Keating Government moved to extend the scheme to includeeducation libraries.Dr Lawrence said the Government had:• cancelled the extension of the scheme to education libraries;• stopped payments of less than $50• allowed payments only for books published in the last 25 years; and• cancelled payments to descendants of deceased authors."Most authors are on subsistence incomes and the Government's changes topublic lending rights will increase the hardship for those who depend on theoccasional cheque," she said."For some older authors, this is the closest thing they have to superannuationand the Government has wiped it out with the stroke of a pen."Contact: Darren Foster 0419 963486RG115, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: (06) 277 4181; Fx: (06) 277 8501Unit 7, Queensgate Mall, William Street, Fremantle 6160 Ph: (09) 335 8555; Fx: (09) 336 1059 a