News //

Trove saved from impending closure

“Trove is a place for all Australians”, a National Library of Australia spokesperson said, “most recently, it has been a place for First Nations communities to continue to tell their stories, through our First Australians pages.”

Trove, the National Library of Australia’s online archival database, has been rescued from possible closure after the federal government promised to inject $42.2 million into the service on Monday.

The federal government will grant the National Library of Australia $33 million across the next four years, alongside indexed ongoing funding of $9.2 million per year to maintain the online service. 

On June 30 this year, Trove’s existing funding arrangements, set by the previous government, would have lapsed. This meant that the future of Trove was uncertain following  reluctance to commit to providing funding.

Minister for Arts Tony Burke called Trove “Australia’s digital memory […] record[ing] and retain[ing] some of our most important stories, moments, challenges, controversies and successes in one accessible location” when he announced the funding package.

“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” said Burke.

Burke said that the funding, as part of the Labor Government’s Revive initiative, “takes us a step closer to ending the budget cuts and culture wars of the previous government”.

A National Library of Australia spokesperson stated that “we are delighted that Trove’s future has been secured”. According to the National Library, “the certainty of this funding decision will allow the National Library to continue to provide this essential service, enrich it with new content, and stabilise and secure the platform, in line with trove strategy.”

“Trove is a place for all Australians”, the spokesperson continued, “most recently, it has been a place for First Nations communities to continue to tell their stories, through our First Australians pages.”

 The National Library spokesperson concluded that “[Trove] is a truly national treasure, and an international world leader. The overwhelming support we have received from the Trove community […] has been humbling. We take our role as the custodians of Trove, on behalf of the Library and our partner organisations, very seriously”

Trove was previously threatened in 2016 by the Turnbull Government’s “Efficiency Dividend”, which would have slashed funding to the National Library, among other institutions. The Turnbull Government was forced to unveil a federal funding package to rescue the service after the successful #fundTrove campaign launched by concerned members of the wider community.

In January of 2023, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted that Australia’s cultural institutions – including the National Library – had been “starved of funds” by the Coalition government over the past decades. However, at the time, Albanese stopped short of announcing concrete funding arrangements to save Trove.