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UPFRONT | NEWS
VICTORIAN 2016 BUDGET PLEDGES SUPPORT
FOR LGBTI COMMUNITY
The Victorian government has allocated over $30 million of their
state budget to LGBTI services.
The budget, released in late April, earmarked $15 million towards
the establishment of Australia’s first LGBTI Pride Centre. The
Centre, which is set to rival San Francisco’s LGBTI Community
Centre, will showcase LGBTI art and history, and bring together
health and support services.
“ It will be a great gathering place for the LGBTI community and
allow for much greater collaboration between services and
community organisations,” said Victorian Equality Minister Mar-
A further $2.5 million will go towards a “rural and regional road
show” that will visit communities outside of Melbourne to ad-
dress the discrimination rural LGBTI Victorians face.
The Andrews government is also pledging $4 million in grants
to support LGBTI community leaders who provide mental health
services to young people. This funding is in addition to the $6.4
million pledged to expand gender dysphoria health services.
In light of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, $2.5 mil-
lion will be committed to research and tailored programs which
respond to violence within LGBTI communities.
“ Equality is not negotiable in Victoria,” said Victorian Premier
TELSTRA FLIP-FLOPS ON MARRIAGE
Telstra has recommitted to supporting marriage
equality after withdrawing its support under pres-
sure from the Catholic Church.
The telecommunications giant removed all refer-
ences to marriage equality from its campaigns after
allegedly receiving a letter from Michael Digges, the
business manager of the Catholic Archdiocese of
Sydney. Digges had sent letters to various corporate
organisations who publicly supported marriage
equality, implying the Church would withdraw all
contracts they had with the companies.
“ The Australian people and Parliament will deter-
mine any changes to [the] institution of marriage.
On the National Day of Action Against Bullying, the Federal government
scaled back the Safe Schools program it launched two years ago.
The anti-bullying program was designed by the Safe Schools Coali-
tion Australia to protect LGBTI students against prejudice and educate
teachers and school staff about LGBTI issues.
But some Coalition MPs criticised the program, saying it raised the dis-
cussion of sexual issues which were inappropriate for teenagers and
Following a campaign led by conservative MPs and The Australian
newspaper, the University of Western Australia’s Emeritus Professor Bill
Louden was commissioned to review the program.
In March, Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced a number
of changes to Safe Schools after the review. These included restricting
certain resources to one-on-one counselling sessions, amending some
lesson plans, and requiring parents to grant permission for their children
to participate in the program.
Birmingham also confirmed that the Safe Schools programs would not
be federally funded beyond 2017.
If states do not adopt the changes proposed by the Federal govern-
ment, they could lose critical Commonwealth financing.
The NSW state government welcomed the amendments to the program
but the Victorian and ACT state governments have indicated they will
continue to fund the program at a state level.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO END FUNDING OF SAFE
We have no plans to drive further public debate,”
Telstra said in a statement.
The withdrawal kicked off a furious debate, with cus-
tomers voicing their disgust online and many saying
they’d change their service to a competitor.
Within a week, Telstra had reversed its decision
again, pledging to publicly support marriage equal-
“It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we
should in fact step forward and support our view
for marriage equality and so that is what we will do,”
said Telstra’s CEO Andrew Penn. “ Telstra supports
The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has not com-
mented on Telstra’s U-turn.
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