A record number of Victorian councils have passed LGBTIQA+ reforms since last year’s local government elections, with councillors following through on pledges they made as part of a Victorian Pride Lobby campaign.
The Rainbow Local Government campaign saw over 800 candidates sign a pledge ahead of the 2020 election to support various LGBTIQA+ reforms if elected.
Since then, nearly 20 councils across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria have passed reforms, ranging from a commitment to fly the rainbow flag on significant days to establishing LGBTIQA+ advisory committees and action plans.
Nevena Spirovska, Co-Convenor of the Victorian Pride Lobby, said the Lobby was overwhelmed by the number of candidates who supported their campaign and that it was exciting to see how quickly the elected councillors had made good on their promises.
“If the past 18 months have told us anything, it’s that our local councils play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ residents,” she said.
“By passing the pledges we put to them last year, these councillors are sending a clear message that LGBTIQA+ people in their communities are welcome and accepted, at a time when it matters most.”
While the councils have voted in favour of LGBTIQA+ reforms include inner-city areas such as Port Phillip, Darebin, and Yarra, a growing number of regional councils have also helped to lead the charge.
The City of Ballarat voted to fly the trans flag on Trans Day of Visibility, resource a multi-year strategy for the LGBTIQA+ Frolic Festival, and establish an LGBTIQA+ advisory committee and action plan.
Councils in Wangaratta, Shepparton, Hepburn, and Latrobe have also passed similar reforms.
Moorabool has been the only council to vote down flying the rainbow flag.
“There are LGBTIQA+ people in all corners of our state, but sadly, it’s often harder to find support and feel connected to the community when you’re a queer person living in a regional area,” Spirovska said.
“We hope the record number of regional councils turning rainbow helps to change this.”
The Victorian Pride Lobby will continue its work to support the implementation of LGBTIQA+ priorities in councils across Victoria.