Monday, 15 June 2015

Epetition to encourage Brisbane City Council to engage with LGBTI people

An epetition has called for the setting up of an LGBTI advisory committee in Brisbane so that Brisbane City Council is fully engaged with the LGBTI community. Brisbane is by far and away the largest local government in Australia. To give an idea of the scale of the Council, its last budget was $2.9 billion.

The reasons for the epetition are obvious, in the words of the epetition, echoing what the Human Rights Commission has said about the need for government and society to engage with the LGBTI community, and end State sanctioned discrimination:

There is a mass of data, including Australian Bureau of Statistics figures and university studies, showing the prejudice and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people leads to far worse health and social outcomes. This includes higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions, having no family members for support, homelessness, chronic health conditions and, alarmingly, a four times higher rate of suicide attempts. All levels of government have a responsibility to address this. However, as Council is the level of government most connected to the communities that impacted people reside in, Council should implement an LGBTI Advisory Committee as a matter of urgency. This follows numerous other Australian Councils that already have LGBTI Advisory Committees or similar. Council wants all residents to be included in civic life, as demonstrated by the Living in Brisbane 2026 plan. However, some groups face barriers to inclusion. For example, many LGBTI residents face discrimination, marginalisation, exclusion and non-representation. This prevents them from engaging fully in civic life. Brisbane City Council has recognised multiple other disadvantaged groups by creating Council boards, committees, roundtables or advisory groups to address the issues unique to each group. The Federal Department of Health, and mental health agencies beyondblue and headspace, address the worst outcomes for LGBTI people by running LGBTI-specific programs.
The epetition is open until 8 September. I have signed it, as I believe that what is contained in it is required. The epetition is open to "permanent residents of Australia and Brisbane residents or Brisbane city ratepayers."

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