Address at LGBTIQ+ Health Australia Conference

I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and their connections to land, water, culture and community.

I pay my respects to the Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.

Thank you to LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, and CEO Nicky Bath, for inviting me to speak today.

I would like to acknowledge my fellow speakers at today’s session – Kai Noonan, Dr Gene Lim, and Commissioner Micaela Cronin.

I am excited to be joining you all today at the 12th Health in Difference Conference.

Thank you to LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) for the important work you do in supporting the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities throughout Australia.

All Australians have the right to live their lives safe from the harm of gender-based violence.

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to reforming systems and attitudes across the nation to stop violence at the start, and improve the safety, wellbeing, and support for people at-risk of violence or affected by it.

LGBTIQA+ people are a diverse group, and experiences of violence can occur in intersecting ways. For example, we know that LGBTIQA+ people may face violence due to both their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Our Government knows that we must recognise and address these intersecting forms of violence to create a safer and more inclusive society for all members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

We also know that LGBTIQA+ people are less likely to find support services that meet their specific needs following sexual violence.

The largest national study of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people, the Private Lives 3 Survey conducted by La Trobe University, found that 43% of participants who had experienced intimate partner or family violence reported that they felt they were targeted because of their sexuality, gender or intersex variations.

It is great to see action and interventions already in place that reflect the unique needs of LGBTIQA+ victim-survivors, delivered through LHA.

However, we know wider systemic change, and national action is needed.

Our Government is committed to addressing the specific needs of the LGBTIQA+ community as part of our efforts to end gender-based violence in Australia within one generation.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you some of this work.

The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 and its First Action Plan 2023-2027, sets out the policy framework and actions governments and all parts of society will take over a 10-year period to eliminate gender-based violence in Australia.

The National Plan and First Action Plan specifically acknowledges the impact of gender-based violence on LGBTIQA+ people, and that their experiences and needs inform the delivery of tailored services and supports.

The National Plan promotes increased investment in sexual, domestic and family violence services and programs led by LGBTIQA+ specialist services across Australia.

The National Plan identifies the importance of ensuring that LGBTIQA+ people experiencing or recovering from violence, abuse and discrimination have access to safe, inclusive and affirming services, and choice and control over the services they access.

We have committed a record $2.3 billion – more than any other previous Government – in ending gender-based violence. This includes activities to improve support for the LGBTIQA+ community.

The activities we are investing in have involved continuous consultation with the LGBTIQA+ community, and foster collaboration and partnerships between both specialist gender-based violence organisations, and LGBTIQA+ community organisations.

For example, the 2022-23 Budget included $100.4 million in funding over 5 years to support Our Watch to continue its work as a national leader in primary prevention.

A key priority for Our Watch is to work with the LGBTIQA+ community to develop a framework to provide a shared understanding of the drivers of violence against LGBTIQA+ communities and people.

The framework will help guide and coordinate prevention work at a national level.

The Albanese Labor Government has also committed funding for 500 new frontline and community sector workers nationally.

This includes funding specifically for workers across Australia in LGBTIQA+ community organisations. I would like to thank LHA for their ongoing support and consultation on this commitment.

This helps ensure that LGBTIQA+ people receive appropriate support when accessing frontline services.

In addition, our Government has also provided $1.5 million to LHA to lead the development and implementation of three LGBTIQA+ pilot programs for preventing sexual violence and harassment within identified LGBTIQA+ communities in Australia.

In acknowledgment of the intersectional nature of sexual violence and harassment within LGBTIQA+ communities, LHA have partnered with organisations within LGBTIQA+ communities to deliver each pilot.

I look forward to hearing about the outcomes of each pilot, and trust that they will be valuable in supporting diverse LGBTIQA+ communities.

A critical step in delivering the National Plan is building a picture of the unique, intersecting and lifelong impacts of gender-based violence and abuse against LGBTIQA+ people.

We know that LGBTIQA+ people can face their own unique barriers when reporting family, domestic, and sexual violence due to prejudice that impacts whether they are heard and responded to appropriately.

To highlight our commitment to listening to LGBTIQA+ voices, just last year, with the University of New South Wales, we commissioned a world-first survey into LGBTIQA+ people’s experiences of sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The survey will collect vital information about prevalence, norms, attitudes, and practices relating to sexual violence prevention for people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.

It will also provide important baseline data that can be used by governments and non-government organisations to identify gaps, undertake further research, and develop interventions to better support LGBTIQA+ communities.

There is ongoing action by governments, the sector and LHA to eliminate violence, abuse and discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people.

I know that much of this must feel like a long-time coming. Many of you in this room have been advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community for years - perhaps even your whole lives.

It is because of you that we have the action we have today. We know there is much more to be done, but I want to thank you for continuing to use your voice to create a better future for all.

All of us, including healthcare professionals and community members, have a responsibility to resolve the inequities experienced by LGBTIQA+ victim-survivors. Together, we are working towards a healthier and more equitable future for all members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

To finish, I want to congratulate LHA, and all those attending today, on the contribution you make towards making Australia a safer place for LGBTIQA+ people, and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of today’s conference.

Thank you.