ADVOCATES are calling on queer Australians to respond to a federal government survey on aged care as a way to highlight to the government the benefits of marriage equality for older people.

Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt is currently reviewing the national strategies that support the aged care needs of people from LGBTI communities.

Spokesperson for just.equal Brian Greig said the survey provides an important opportunity for LGBTI people to raise the issues related to marriage inequality and how it can cause complications later in life.

“Numerous studies have found that marriage can be important to the social, legal, and physical wellbeing of couples, and the de facto recognition of same-sex couples often proves inadequate for many of the critical administrative functions we need in our later years,” he said.

“The inability of same-sex couples to marry can mean they and the staff caring for them have problems dealing with visiting rights, power of attorney, medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse, hostile and estranged family members, sharing rooms, and prejudice from religiously managed facilities.”

The Minister said public consultation is vital and is asking aged care consumers and carers from LGBTI backgrounds to participate by filling out the online survey.

Greig said the Minister needs to be made aware of these issues, particularly as he opposes marriage equality.

“Mr Wyatt has voted against marriage equality, but he has indicated an open mind,” he said.

“As a Liberal moderate Wyatt could be encouraged to support a free vote on marriage equality if he has a better understanding of the difficulties and discrimination its absence creates.”

The strategies are set to conclude mid-year and be replaced by a broader Aged Care Diversity Framework that will address the systemic barriers to access of aged care services to diverse groups.

Just.equal is encouraging people to fill out the survey or to write short submissions to the review which could advocate for equal marriage.

You can fill out the survey here.

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