An Australian first Pride Centre is the centrepiece of the Andrews Labor Government’s continued investment in services and facilities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Victorians.
A total of $15 million will go towards the Pride Centre, which will showcase LGBTI art and history, co-locate LGBTI advisory, health and support services, and feature community spaces which will provide a safe environment for LGBTI Victorians to meet and socialise, and will attract Australian and international tourists.
“The Pride Centre is long overdue and will attract people from across Victoria, Australia, and the world,” said Martin Foley, Minister for Equality. “It will be a great gathering place for the LGBTI community and allow for much greater collaboration between services and community organisations.”
The final design, location and timeframe for the establishment of the Pride Centre will be agreed in consultation with the LGBTI community. The $29 million package also includes:
- $4 million for a grants program to strengthen the sustainability of LGBTI community organisations and to support LGBTI community leaders who help Victorians live free from discrimination;
- $2.5 million for initiatives that combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. This includes a rural and regional program led by the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality to provide LGBTI community members living outside Melbourne with better access to support and the delivery of LGBTI education and training for mainstream services;
- $1.15 million which will go towards expanding the Healthy Equal Youth grants which provide positive mental health programs for young people in the LGBTI community; and
- $6.4 million for the expansion of gender dysphoria health services to address increased demand and more comprehensively meet the needs of Victoria’s transgender and gender diverse population.
“We know people have been waiting too long to access specialised gender dysphoria services. This extra funding will ensure people can access these important services sooner,” said Jill Hennessy, Minister for Health. “We’re making sure that transgender and gender diverse people get the treatment and care they need and deserve.”
The funding boost cements the Government’s commitment to LGBTI equality, building on initiatives such as the creation of Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner, an LGBTI Taskforce and a program of reform to remove discrimination from Victoria’s laws and services.
It comes ahead of the formal historic State apology to the LGBTI community in Parliament on 24 May 2016 for those convicted under unjust and prejudiced laws against homosexual acts.
Image: Rainbow State special interest number plate – courtesy of Victorian Greens