Employees in the aged care sector will get GLBTI sensitivity training under a new $400,000 federal government scheme.

Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek announced the funding at an information night held for older GLBT people at the close of Pride Week.

“The Department of Health and Ageing supports the need for an aged-care provider education program to address GLBT ageing issues,” Plibersek said.

“We think training is going to be very important for people working in the aged care and the health sector. As the population continues to age, the GLBT population also ages, and makes up an increasing proportion of our community as a whole.”

The program will be developed by ACON in partnership with the Aged and Community Services Association NSW and ACT, with the aim of delivering a sensitivity training program over the next 12 months.

Aged and Community Services Association CEO Jill Pretty said it was a great privilege for her organisation to be partnering with ACON.

“We’re very honoured to partner with ACON,” Pretty said. “We are going to provide the educational expertise and we’re looking at whether these courses can be aligned to an accredited module, [while] we’ll be looking to ACON to provide the content.”

Gerontologist and GLBTI ageing specialist Dr Jo Harrison welcomed the funding.

“A growing body of research demonstrates that fear of having to rely on aged care services that are not culturally competent in relation to our needs has been part of our community discourse for many years,” Harrison said.

“The fear of residential care facilities … where you can’t be yourself, where your partner, your family of choice, and your extended networks of support are not recognised or respected.

“Fear at the prospect of having to de-gay your house — putting away photos, books, CDs, gay papers and the like so that the risk of being found out and exposed to homophobia, transphobia and discrimination is minimised.

“This is a historic commitment to work in partnership with a GLBT community-based organisation to unravel that fear through the power of education.”

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