The Tasmanian Greens are among parties joining community advocates in welcoming the Liberal Party’s commitment to increase the state’s LGBTIQ+ funding.
The Liberals last week announced an extra $20,000 for its LGBTIQ+ fund, bringing the annual total the government fund disburses to $70,000.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor reiterated the party’s long-standing commitment to the LGBTIQ+ community, which has previously included campaigning for decriminalising homosexuality and for marriage equality.
O’Connor said the Greens opposed homophobic and transphobic conversion practices and forced intersex surgery.
“The Greens are proud to be part of making Tasmania a kinder, happier place for transgender, and intersex people,” said O’Connor.
Advocacy group Equality Tasmania also lauded the Liberal announcement but said stronger commitments and more funds are required to ensure the state’s school and health systems are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people.
“More is required to ensure schools are safe and supportive places for LGBTIQ+ students and to ensure discrimination and stigma are no longer barriers to LGBTIQ+ people accessing healthcare,” said spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“We acknowledge the previous Liberal Party government made some funding available for training of some teachers and healthcare workers in LGBTIQ+ issues, but it has been nowhere near enough to meet the need shown by recent local and national research.
“Whichever party forms government after the election must, as a matter of urgency, develop a comprehensive and properly funded government strategy on LGBTIQ+ school inclusion and access to healthcare.
“We have also sought commitments to important law reforms that will underpin the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people, including bans on conversion practices and non-consenting, medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children.”
O’Connor said that the Greens would support implementing the recommendations of a recent review into compensation and expungement of criminal records for those convicted under historical homophobic laws.
Tasmania was in 1997 the last Australian state to decriminalise homosexuality.
“No person should have a criminal record for simply being who they are,” said O’Connor.
“We support expunging the records and compensating Tasmanians who were convicted under these terrible laws, for the harm this homophobic policy and law inflicted on them.”
The Tasmanian Labor Party has similarly committed to compensation for historical convictions, reform of the Coroner’s Act, opposing conversion practices and intersex surgeries, supporting the state’s gender reforms, and ensuring the school and health systems are safe and inclusive for LGBTIQ+ people.
Independents Sue Hickey, Jax Ewin, and Kristie Johnstone, as well as the Animal Justice Party, have also responded positively to Equality Tasmania’s survey on LGBTIQ+ rights.
The Tasmanian state election will be held on Saturday 1 May.