Everyone has a plan to combat homophobic violence, it would seem, as council candidates do their utmost to secure the pink vote at next month’s local government election.

Clover Moore’s Independents team this week defended their proposal to declare Oxford St a homophobia-free zone against criticisms from opposing councillors and Labor’s mayoral candidate Meredith Burgmann, who announced her own strategy for reducing the crime rate.

Independents councillor Phillip Black this week defended his proposal to declare precincts as homophobia-free zones, an idea which was accepted by council on 4 August in a five-four vote.

The idea came under criticism from opposing Liberal councillor Shayne Mallard last week as being nothing but a money-wasting exercise, an idea which Black says is unfounded.

Do-nothing Mallard has totally missed the point of my proposal, Black said before admitting that there may have been some confusion over the proposal owing to the fact that he was ill the night it passed.

The use of the word -˜zone’ may have prevented some from realising that the proposal is to develop a strategy, not street signage. Such a strategy could incorporate a logo-based campaign using posters, stickers and drink coasters for businesses and badges and T-shirts for individuals.

Or, it could be more complex such as businesses declaring their premises homophobia-free zones in addition to the safe place.

These proposals and other strategies implemented by the Independents over the past four years were strongly criticised by Community Labor’s mayoral candidate Meredith Burgmann who declared she was deeply angered by Clover Moore’s party’s soft approach to addressing homophobic violence.

Community Labor will make it compulsory for pubs, clubs and bars submitting council development applications to detail how they will effectively manage their venues to ensure they are homophobia-free, she said.

In addition to this initiative, the Community Labor team is committed to funding extra police for the City -” police who are properly trained to deal with homophobic incidents.

These are real measures we will take to stamp out homophobia that is clearly within the council’s jurisdiction.

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