Aust earmarks $26m for national LGBTQI research
The federal government has launched a 10-year national health plan focused on LGBTQI communities along with $26 million in medical research.
Health Minister Mark Butler announced the action plan to address health disparities and make improvements across the health system for diverse sexual communities.
"There is so much work we need to do to close the gap in health and particularly mental health outcomes for LGBTIQA+ Australians," he told reporters at WorldPride's Human Rights Conference in Sydney.
The $26 million grant funded through the Medical Research Future Fund will support projects seeking to improve treatment and care for LGBTQI people.
Advocates such as Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown hailed the plan as "life-saving".
"This funding package for new research - the largest ever for LGBTIQA+ health - is incredibly welcome news for the many people in our communities who feel their needs have not been met by the health system," she said.
Speaking via video message, Foreign Minister Penny Wong also announced the country's first dedicated fund to support LGBTIQ human rights groups in addressing social stigma and legal discrimination.
The Inclusion and Equality Fund will be granted $3.5 million this year.
Ms Wong also said the government would increase its funding to the Global Equality Fund for emergency assistance to human rights defenders in the Asia-Pacific region.
Earlier in the day, Sydney WorldPride CEO Kate Wickett opened the conference saying that while Mardi Gras events that celebrate the diversity of the queer community were needed, equally important was the recognition of human rights that guarantee equality for LGBTIQ communities.
She urged attendees of the three-week festival to "party with purpose".
"We celebrate united as a community that comes together and Mardi Gras is a visible display of that unification and celebration but the human rights conference is the embodiment of that purpose," she told AAP on Wednesday.
"We've still got a lot of work to do to achieve equality."
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN's Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, said measures to ban gay conversion therapy in NSW, such as the bill by independent MP Alex Greenwich, were crucial.
His bill to remove a variety of barriers for LGBTQI communities would stop the practice of changing or suppressing sexual orientation and gender identity.
The MP said earlier this month he would introduce the bill regardless of which party was elected on March 25.
Mr Madrigal-Borloz warned the fight towards repealing laws that criminalise sexual orientation and gender identity was far from over, with 67 countries still having them on the books.
"First, we change the laws, then the rest will follow," he said at the conference.
"Law reform creates an environment of equality that fosters and nurtures the removal of discrimination, which in turn, helps to change minds and attitudes towards and within our communities."