The Queensland Government will reintroduce state-sanctioned civil unions and ceremonies for gay couples.

Newly sworn in Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said Labor would honour its election pledge to reverse the amendments made by the previous government.

In June 2012, the former Newman Government downgraded civil partnerships to the class of “registered relationships”, and took away the option of obtaining  state recognition of a partnership via a ceremony as it was believed that this resembled marriage. They did, however, maintain the legal protections provided by civil unions.

Since that time, same-sex relationship registrations fell by two-thirds.

Mrs D’Ath said she had already been briefed on how to reintroduce civil unions.

Declining to mention when the plans will materialise, she said the issue was about equality and fair treatment for same-sex couples in Queensland.

“We have made it clear we will change it back. We’re putting in place (measures) to do that now.”

These measures referred to changes to the births, deaths and marriages register processes.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said the decision showed there was an appetite in the community for treating same-sex relationships with dignity and respect.

“But civil partnerships can never be a substitute for full marriage equality because they are not as widely recognised, understood or respected as marriage,” he said.

“This is why countries like New Zealand and Britain have moved on from civil partnerships to marriage equality.”

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