Town Hall will be without a gay and lesbian liaison officer (GLLO) after Lord Mayor Clover Moore this week reneged on an election promise to support the position.
With Moore’s casting vote, City of Sydney Council on Monday chose not to install a GLLO, opting instead for a review into how the Council addresses gay and lesbian issues.
The decision was an about-turn on assurances given by Moore before last year’s council elections that she would retain the GLLO position if she became lord mayor.
Prior to winning Town Hall, Moore told ACON a GLBT liaison role -“ which existed at the former South Sydney City Council -“ was crucial to ensuring that Council services [were] appropriate and sensitive to the city’s GLBT residents and visitors.
But Moore’s position had changed on Monday night, when she and her team of four Independent councillors voted against Labor councillor Verity Firth’s proposal to appoint a Town Hall GLLO.
Instead, Moore backed the proposal of gay councillor Phillip Black calling for a review of Council recruitment and training processes.
The proposal also called for further consultation with key gay and lesbian organisations.
The lord mayor said the GLLO role worked well at South Sydney City Council, but a single community representative was not the best option to achieve systemic, organisational change at Town Hall.
The [GLLO] position would be tokenistic and could not have the authority across the organisation to play an effective advocacy role, Moore said after Monday’s council meeting.
It would be impossible for one staff member to be across the many different areas of Council that provide support and services to gay and lesbian residents, workers and visitors to the City.
But Monday’s decision may mean a reduced profile for queer issues at Town Hall, according to ACON president Adrian Lovney.
I do think there’s a risk that GLBT issues will be sidelined without a GLLO at Town Hall and that’s why we’ve been advocating to get the position filled, Lovney told Sydney Star Observer.
He said ACON was disappointed with Council’s decision but confident progress on gay and lesbian issues would continue.
We did walk away with the clear sense that the councillors had a fairly shared view about where we were trying to get to, Lovney said.
We’re reasonably satisfied that there’s a fair process in frame to make sure we get the sort of outcome that’s going to be successful in the long term.
[But] my view is that that must include a GLLO.
Meanwhile, a series of rainbow banners -“ representing gay and lesbian pride -“ will hang around Taylor Square up to three times a year, following a recommendation from Town Hall.
The banners will be installed in and around Taylor Square during Mardi Gras and at two other periods to be determined after community consultation. They are due to be installed in the next few months.