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WA LGBTQIA+ Strategy reference group holds first meeting

The Cook Government has held its first meeting with the Reference Group who will be guiding the state’s first LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Strategy.

Announced in February, the initiative saw a commitment of $900,000 to develop the Strategy led by Minister for Youth Hannah Beazley MLA and the Department of Communities.

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This funding will be provided to local LGBTIQA+ organisations Living Proud WA, TransFolk of WA and GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc (GRAI) to advance and implement the Strategy. A peak body will also be established to support the Strategy.

The Reference Group includes a broader spectrum of WA’s LGBTQIA+ community, with representatives from Albany Pride, Equal Voices, Kimberley Blak Pride, Rainbow Migrants, Pride WA, Rainbow Futures WA and the Youth Pride Network – as well as the three funded organisations.

Minister Beazley has shared her gratitude to the Reference Group, following their first meeting in early July.

“Thank you to the LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Strategy Reference Group for their time, expertise and commitment to drive change for the benefit of all LGBTQIA+ Western Australians,” Minister Beazley said.

“Equality and freedom from discrimination and violence and fundamental human rights, but LGBTQIA+ people face significantly higher levels of discrimination and social exclusion.”

Minister Beazley says the Cook Government is committed to creating equal opportunities for all Western Australians.

“The first Reference Group meeting puts us another step closer to achieving our goal – through wide consultation we can develop and implement this very important strategy.”

Reference Group members, Rainbow Futures WA, have also welcomed the advent of this first meeting. The consortium of local LGBTQIA+ organisations says this is an incredible step forward for our community.

“In getting to this point, we’d like to acknowledge the hard work of LGBTIQA+ advocates past and present, as well as our members that helped us develop the whole-of-government proposal we discussed with the Premier in 2023,” Rainbow Futures WA Steering Group member Misty Farquhar says.

“We are grateful to the Premier and Youth Minister for championing this initiative.”

As part of the Reference Group, Rainbow Futures WA are calling on the government to consider solutions to three key barriers to LGBTQIA+ inclusion in government policy.

These barriers include calls for tenders that are written to privilege heterosexual relationships and family structures, ad hoc consultation processes for laws affecting LGBTQIA+ people and difficulty in securing long-term funding.

Rainbow Futures WA are recommending that the Cook Government commits to consistent, transparent consultation, to measure clear indicators of success and failure and to ensure the buck stops with someone through KPIs, guidelines and a long-term plan to build capacity.

“At this initial meeting, the group successfully advocated for better representation of First Nations, people of colour, intersex, and people with disabilities,” Farquhar said.

“We look forward to collaborating with the Department of Communities to develop a whole-of-government strategy to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage for WA LGBTIQA+ communities.”

Rainbow Futures WA LGBTIQA+ Community Priorities Survey is currently open, inviting input from the local community to guide the consortium’s advocacy as this Strategy develops and into the future. The survey closes on Wednesday 17 July.

Image: Hannah Beazley MLA (Facebook)

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