The Victorian Pride Lobby has welcomed the appointment of Todd Fernando as the Acting Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities.
The Lobby has also thanked outgoing Commissioner Ro Allen for their outstanding service in the role over the past six years.
“As the inaugural Commissioner, Ro was instrumental in securing record funding for LGBTIQ+ organisations and initiatives, delivering the Victorian Pride Centre, and supporting regional pride,” said Lobby Co-Convenor Nevena Spirovska.
“They have left a lasting legacy and big shoes to fill.”
Acting Commissioner Fernando is an accomplished diversity and inclusion consultant and doctoral researcher with extensive experience working with First Nations and LGBTIQ+ communities.
Fernando will act in the role until September during the recruitment process for the new Commissioner.
The Victorian Pride Lobby has laid out three key priorities for the Acting Commissioner: rolling out funding, improving communication, and developing the whole-of-government LGBTIQ+ Strategy.
“LGBTIQ+ community organisations and festivals have done it tough during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Spirovska.
“The Victorian Budget has committed funding to grants programs for community organisations as well as pride events and festivals, and it’s important that these grants open as soon as possible so that our organisations and festivals can get back on their feet.
“We need to support our regional pride festivals to reach new markets when restrictions are eased.”
The Lobby is also calling for the meaningful inclusion of LGBTIQA+ people in Government decision-making.
“The Government has established an LGBTIQ+ Taskforce and working groups to provide a voice from community to Government,” said Spirovska.
“However, the Taskforce and its Health and Human Services Working Group have not issued a public communique for some years now.
“It’s important for the community to have visibility of the work being undertaken so that we can fill in any gaps.
“We are keen to work with the Acting Commissioner on improving public reporting.”
Spirovska said that the Lobby welcomed the commitment to an inaugural whole-of-government LGBTIQ+ Strategy.
“The Strategy must contain detailed actions across each portfolio of Government that are specific, measurable, properly resourced, and time-bound,” said Spirovska.
“We look forward to working with the Acting Commissioner on the development of the Strategy.
“This is a modest to-do list, and we are ready to work with the Acting Commissioner to get it done.”