Wins for LGBTIQ health and HIV prevention in federal budget


Albanese government treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers first federal Budget in parliament
Image: 9News

Australia’s peak LGBTIQ+ health bodies have welcomed funding in the federal budget for LGBTIQ+ health services and renewing the fight against HIV transmission in Australia.

Federal treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the Albanese Government’s first budget in Canberra on Tuesday night.

In it, the federal government has allocated $1.3m over two years to national consultations to “explore the unique health issues and barriers to access care faced by LGBTIQ+ Australians.”

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia CEO Nicky Bath said the consultation process is the first step towards a 10-year action plan.

“Future budgets need to demonstrate the Government’s vision for tackling the disparities in health and wellbeing outcomes for LGBTIQ+ people,” she said.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations will also receive a share of the funding to lead the national consultations.

“More than four in five young LGBTQA+ people report high levels of psychological distress,” AFAO CEO Darryl O’Donnell said.

“One in ten have attempted suicide in the past year.

“We have made important strides in supporting the health of LGBTIQ people, but there is nonetheless a continuing crisis.

“LGBTIQ-led health organisations can do so much more if they are properly resourced with secure funding.”

O’Donnell said AFAO and others would “partner with the Government to build a robust primary health option for communities that really need it.”

The government will also provide additional funding to LGBTIQ+ support and counselling service QLife to recruit volunteer peer support workers.

The federal budget has also provided for 500 new frontline service and community workers to support people experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence.

That includes 15 specific workers for LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations Labor committed to before the federal election, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia CEO Nicky Bath said.

Albanese government restores HIV funding cut from peak bodies

AFAO CEO Darryl O’Donnell said the Albanese government has also taken the first steps to restore funding previously cut from AFAO and the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), another Labor election commitment.

Both organisations lead Australia’s effort to end HIV transmission and promote the health of people living with HIV.

The Albanese government’s first budget also includes renewed HIV funding, including for expanded clinical and counselling support for people newly diagnosed with HIV, O’Donnell said.

AFAO also welcomed the government’s commitment to establish an expert taskforce on HIV prevention in Australia.

The bipartisan taskforce, reporting to the Health Minister Mark Butler, will “remove bottlenecks and drive progress to end HIV transmission”.

O’Donnell said the budget signals the Albanese government “is serious about progress on HIV.”

“We’ve worked closely with the Minister to share the evidence on what Australia can achieve on HIV,” he said.

“We’re encouraged that the Government is stepping up its response and its partnership with us.

“With the right effort, Australia can achieve something that would have seemed astounding as recently as a decade ago, virtual elimination of HIV transmission.”

Future budgets must invest in LGBTIQ+ aged care, mental health and trans healthcare

In future budgets, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia called for future budgets to address broader areas of concern for LGBTIQ+ communities.

They include LGBTI-inclusive aged care, public funding for services for people with intersex variations.

The federal government must also invest in gender-affirming care for trans and gender diverse people in the public health system.

The government must also “properly implementing the ABS 2020 Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables across the health system,” CEO Nicky Bath said.

“Swift implementation is needed to address the crisis in the mental health of LGBTIQ+ communities, especially trans and gender diverse people, and build the capacity of community-controlled organisations to provide desperately needed services,” Bath said.

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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