The Coalition has said it will work with the states to end the practice of harmful “gay conversion therapy” after Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed national action on the issue on Tuesday.
The harmful practices attempt to change or suppress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity using psychological or spiritual means, and it’s been condemned by major health bodies around the world.
“The Morrison Government remains committed to addressing the mental health of all Australians, including the LGBTI community, and this also relates to opposition to gay conversion therapy,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Government will work with the states, which have legal responsibility in this area, to ensure such practices are not supported or occurring.”
It comes after Labor promised to “work with survivors and advocates on a range of strategies to end this insidious practice, including a nationwide ban,” but Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed the issue as a matter for the states.
$2 million in funding for counselling service QLife
Greg Hunt announced on Tuesday the National LGBTI Health Alliance promised an additional $2 million over two years to support the peer support telephone and online support service, QLife.
Announcing the funding, Hunt said in a statement that demand for QLife’s services had steadily increased over the past four years — up 20 per cent in 2017-18 alone and the service had increased its service hours and staffing levels to meet demand.
The Coalition also promised the National LGBTI Health Alliance $4 million over three years to provide LGBTI Awareness Training to ageing and aged care providers and workers.
Mr Hunt said MindOUT! will receive $36 million from 2019-21 for its suicide prevention program, and Black Rainbow had received funding to develop culturally appropriate Indigenous LGBTIQ information materials to support healthcare settings.
He said the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan recognises the mental health needs of the LGBTIQ community and all jurisdictions are working on actions under the plan.