A push from the Australian Christian Lobby to exclude LGBTI programs and projects from the Sydney’s Inner West Council’s annual grants program has been rejected by a majority of councillors.
Councillors voted to approve more than $67,000 in funding for 13 LGBTI programs for the upcoming year, including funding for Sydney’s first ever “Queer Formal” for high school students, Fairfax Media reported.
Australian Christian Lobby’s NSW director Kieren Jackson wrote to councillors asking them to re-evaluate the use of public money for LGBTI groups in favour of prioritising “the most vulnerable in society, the sick and those with disabilities.”
“The question that needs to be asked is whether the Inner West Council’s energetic support of the ‘Yes’ campaign in the current postal survey is colouring the council’s judgment when it comes to being responsible with ratepayers’ money,” he said.
But Mayor Darcy Byrne told a council meeting on Tuesday: “We are giving out several hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to a wide range of organisations, some of which are LGBT organisations. So what?
“Anyone who is arguing against [support] for a particular group or subset because it’s exclusive is also arguing for an end for any support from this council to any ethnic groups.”
Following a heated debate around the recipients of the grant money, councillors also backed an amendment for a report outlining the “criteria and processes” involved in the approval of projects in the annual grant program.
The LGBTI community projects accounted for 10 per cent of the grant program’s total amount of $742,847, which was shared between 127 community projects that included domestic violence support groups and music therapy programs for deaf children, Fairfax Media reported.