Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore has called for a specialist City of Sydney staff member to oversee liaison with the gay and lesbian community, in an about-turn on her earlier opposition to a single person-led liaison strategy.
Under a new proposal backed by Moore and due to be debated by a council committee next week, Town Hall would gain a specialist staff member to work with the LGBT community.
The plan will come before the City’s Cultural and Community Services Committee on Monday. The committee can amend the proposal or suggest an alternative. The plan would then go before council for possible approval.
The proposal, contained in a City report set for release this week, follows consultation between Moore and LGBT community groups and represents a shift in the lord mayor’s gay liaison stance.
In May, Moore and fellow independent councillors successfully voted against a gay and lesbian liaison officer (GLLO) role at Town Hall, arguing a single staff member could not achieve systemic, organisational change.
That decision was a reversal on Moore’s pledge before becoming lord mayor to support an LGBT liaison role like the one at the former South Sydney City Council.
This week, however, Moore expressed support for a specialist LGBT officer at Town Hall, while stressing the position should not be the same as a GLLO role.
My team has consistently argued that systemic, organisational change is needed to ensure that council’s policies, procedures and practices relating to GLBT populations are appropriate, sensitive and continually enhanced, Moore said.
Moore’s renewed support for a LGBT liaison position follows her June meeting with gay groups.
Gay and lesbian groups who attended last month’s consultation welcomed the City proposal.
David Scamell, co-convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, told Sydney Star Observer a specialist officer was the preferred option.
We think the best way the council can meet the needs of the community and the needs of the Lobby is to have at least one dedicated officer, Scamell said.
ACON president Adrian Lovney also welcomed the Town Hall plan, after expressing disappointment in May after council failed to support a GLLO.
The absence of a GLLO position over the past 18 months has had a real impact on a range of strategies affecting our community, particularly around homophobic violence and abuse, Lovney said.
The City’s Cultural and Community Services Committee meeting next Monday 25 July at 4pm is open to LGBT community groups and individuals. Those wishing to address the meeting in Town Hall’s Council Chamber should inform council on 9265 9310.

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