Labor has announced $1.8 million in federal funding for a Queensland indigenous sexual health program, after funding for the program was axed two years ago.
Labor’s health spokesperson Catherine King said Labor would provide the funding over four years for the 2 Spirits program administered by the Queensland Aids Council, which has welcomed the commitment.
The program was established 21 years ago and provides sexual health education and community development to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
In 2017, funding for the project was ceased by the federal Health Department, amid growing rates of sexually transmitted infections among Indigenous communities.
King said in a statement the 2 Spirits program had been doing “vital work” in far north Queensland for more than two decades.
She said the funding would ensure the provision of four program officers, two based in Cairns and two in Brisbane.
“This program has had well known successes in community engagement and education, most notably the introduction of Condoman and Lubelicious, the safe-sex superheroes,” she said.
“We know that community-centred care works best, not only in helping to close the gap but also in strengthening communities and creating positive social outcomes.
“Programs like 2Spirits work with communities and individuals to break down barriers and deliver services that save lives.
“We cannot close the gap if we do not deliver effective, accessible and culturally appropriate health services to First Australians.”
Elida Faith, Labor’s candidate for the far north Queensland seat of Leichhardt, said the 2 Spirits program was vital to the region in educating indigenous Australians about sexual health.
Political parties’ commitments on LGBTIQ issues
Two weeks ago, Health Minister Greg Hunt pledged $2 million in funding to the National LGBTI Health Alliance to support the national peer support telephone and online support service, QLife.
Last week, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby released an election scorecard rating the three major political parties on issues affecting LGBTIQ+ voters.
The federal election will be held on May 18.