NSW Parliament inquiry clears way for Equality Bill

The Equality Bill has taken a step closer to being voted on by the NSW Parliament. Photo by Adam.J.W.C. Wikipedia Commons

LGBTQIA+ community advocates have welcomed the findings of a parliamentary inquiry that has cleared the way for the NSW Parliament to move towards voting on Alex Greenwich’s LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill, saying it’s time all people and families are treated equally in NSW. 

The Committee on Community Services published its report on Monday, following two days of hearings and 66 written submissions.

The report, which recommended the bill proceed for consideration by the Parliament of NSW, also found there was a need for additional policy measures and funding to improve the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ people, including addressing issues like disadvantage, discrimination and poorer health outcomes.

The Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023 will provide equality by amending 20 different laws including closing the carve-outs that allow religious schools and organisations to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people, recognition for more rainbow families and ensuring trans people can access birth certificates without cruel and unnecessary barriers. NSW is the last place in Australia to require trans people to have surgery on their reproductive organs in order to access ID documents that recognise them for who they are. 

In April 80 organisations signed a letter to NSW Premier Chris Minns calling on him to support the Equality Bill including the Australian Services Union, NCOSS, Women’s Health NSW, Women’s Electoral Lobby, Pitt Street Uniting Church, the Black Dog Institute and Rainbow Families. 

Just this week Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras wrote to NSW MPs and told them that they would not be welcome at next year’s parade if they vote against the bill.

“Our communities and their families live with some of the nation’s most outdated and discriminatory laws and it’s time for NSW to catch-up with the rest of Australia on these long overdue reforms,” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown.

“Historic laws banning conversion practices were recently passed in NSW in the first major reform for our community in almost a decade. Now we need to ensure our laws change so that all people and families are equal in NSW.”

“ACON recommends that the NSW Parliament passes the Equality Bill in full. The Bill provides the necessary legislative framework, and protective factors, that will help ensure the health and wellbeing of sexuality and gender diverse people in New South Wales,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill AO said.

“We look forward to seeing the Equality Bill proceed through Parliament. The reforms it contains follow best practice in other Australian jurisdictions and are an unprecedented opportunity to create a more inclusive, respectful, and safe society for our communities to live.”

“We know from both evidence and testimony given throughout this inquiry that young LGBTIQA+ people, and those that support them, experience unnecessary harm and distress due to some of our outdated laws and legislation,” Twenty10 CEO Jain Moralee added.

“We hope the NSW Government can see that by supporting the Equality Bill, education, social services and healthcare settings can be safer and accessible spaces for everyone and young LGBTIQA+ people of NSW can thrive and live long, happy and healthy lives.”

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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