The City of Sydney has identified gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as a group with priority needs that require attention under council’s new social plan.

Community health and safety, homelessness, equality and access to facilities are the key areas council intends to focus on.

GLBT people join seven other target groups the City’s social plan takes into consideration. The others are children, young people, older people, women, Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with a disability.

Under a state government directive it is mandatory for all local government areas to have a social plan which addressed those seven groups.

However, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement that as the City had the largest GLBT population in Australia it included this community as a priority target group with particular needs that the City must address.

Sydney has a strong and vibrant history of GLBT rights movements and GLBT people expect safety and acceptance in our area, she said.

Together we can make a difference to the quality of life for the GLBT community.

The GLBT project officer, Pip Ditzell, would ensure council implemented the actions identified in the plan, Moore said.

The City’s Social Plan 2006-2010, created in consultation with community groups and due for release in August, looks at what services are needed for the eight target groups and how they will be delivered.

The plan identifies a need for council to provide access and equity to information, services and facilities for GLBT people.

To achieve this the plan calls for council to ensure it has appropriate services; that it purchases and promotes GLBT books in public libraries; includes organisations in council agencies; and has positive representations of GLBT people in council publications.

Community health and safety must be improved, the plan says, by undertaking safety audits of GLBT precincts, implementing anti-homophobia community education campaigns and developing new strategies for preventing crime.

Gay men were four times, and lesbians six times, more likely to be assaulted than heterosexuals in the council area. The majority of homophobic assaults occurred around Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, and King Street, Newtown.

The range of homelessness services for GLBT people could be increased by advocating for the Department of Housing to accommodate people appropriately, the plan said.

Under the people with a disability section the plan said council must increase support for people living with HIV/AIDS by maintaining close relationships with HIV/AIDS agencies, through accommodation grants and ensuring services and facilities are accessible.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics information from 2001, the social plan identified at least 3,985 people living in same-sex relationships in the City of Sydney.

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