Premier Peter Malinauskas-led Labor government on Thursday set up South Australia’s LGBTQI Advisory Council ahead of Adelaide Pride. The council to be headed by Minister for Human Services Nat Cook will directly engage with the community on its issues.
“We have 13 amazing members who are passionate and committed to creating an inclusive culture where LGBTIQA+ people feel welcome and safe, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics,” said Cook in a statement.
The appointments come just days before the annual Pride March to be held in Adelaide on November 5, 2022. This is the first in-person Pride March to be held in three years, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Not Just Ticking A Box, Says Minister
South Australia was the first jurisdiction in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality in 1975. Last year, SA Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) in partnership with Equality Australia had surveyed around 600 LGBTQI South Australians on issues that there important to them ahead of the state elections.
The issues of that the community wanted the government to address included a ban on gay conversion practices, prohibiting faith-based schools from discrimination against LGBTQI staff, inclusive health and other services, improving access to gender affirming health care and ending medically unnecessary treatments on intersex people without their consent.
The Minister emphasized that the committee would ensure that the government is accountable for to the LGBTQI community.
“This is not a ‘look what we’re doing’ group – ticked that box,” said Cook. “It’s a direct line to me as the Minister responsible. Doing this will enable me to translate that narrative across government into policy and legislation. This level of accountability is appreciated by the community and means messages are delivered straight to me.”
Opportunity To Be Heard
The newly appointed members of the advisory council are Aston Hawkins-Nicholls, Brett McAloney, Jody Anderson, Olympia Balopitos, Varo, Desmond Ford, Sean Henschke, Lucy Hacksworth, Lucy Solonsch, Steven Moran, Anna Moffat, Michelle Hok and Megan Barnes.
According to activist Anderson, the advisory council could be the link between the community and the government. “It’s an opportunity to be directly heard within a societal structure about the systemic issues and barriers that LGBTIQA+ people face,” Anderson said in a statement.
“It’s an opportunity to explore gaps in service provision in areas that the Government is responsible for, such as health, safety, Family and Domestic Violence and Education. It’s hoped the Council will have some influence on changing a culture via policy and can take a lead on discrimination.”
The first meeting of the advisory council will be held in December 2022.
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