The Coalition government has announced an extra $2 million funding towards the LGBTI support service QLife over the next two years.
The funding will go towards the National LGBTI Health Alliance to better fund QLife’s expanding footprint.
The increased demand includes a 20 per cent increase in 2017-18 alone, potentially reflecting increased rates of mental distress resulting from the Coalition government’s postal survey.
QLife provides free, anonymous peer support for LGBTI people across Australia in partnership with Diverse Voices, Twenty10, Living Proud WA and Switchboard.
The service provides support over the phone as well as through web chat, and provides a range of resources around LGBTI mental health.
The funding commitment comes as the Coalition took a harder stance against conversion therapy in response to an Equality Australia survey on LGBTI issues, just a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would prefer to “focus on the things we actually have control over”.
Both the Labor Party and the Greens have committed to banning conversion therapy practices.
The Morrison government touted a range of other funding commitments around LGBTI mental health, including national LGBTI suicide prevention initiative MindOUT!, which will receive $36 million over the next three years.
The National LGBTI Health Alliance also receives government funding towards providing LGBTI Awareness Training to ageing and aged care providers and workers, while Hunt last year announced a major grant for research into Indigenous LGBTI mental health.
The government has also committed to a significant funding increase for youth mental health service headspace.
The Labor Party has committed to establishing a National LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council and an LGBTIQ Human Rights Commissioner, alongside funding $3 million in grants for LGBTI organisations, $600,000 funding for JOY 94.9, among other commitments in the ALP’s national LGBTIQ policy platform.
On Wednesday, the Greens announced a policy to provide $70 million in grants for LGBTI community organisations, in addition to the party’s previously announced LGBTI-focused policies.
For more information about QLife, head to qlife.org.au.