The Labor Party has vowed that a Shorten Labor Government would help improve Indigenous sexual health across Queensland by restoring $1.8 million cut by the LNP.

The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) ran the 2Spirits Indigenous sexual health program for 21 years, providing state-wide services, and employing Aboriginal sexual health workers in Cairns and Brisbane.

Federal funding was cut in 2017, despite growing rates of sexually transmitted infections among Indigenous communities.

The $1.8 million of promised funding would be delivered over four years to fund four full-time sexual health and community liaison officers based in Cairns and Brisbane.

“This election will be a choice between a united Shorten Labor Government which will restore the Liberals’ cuts to health and give our community the health services it deserves, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos,” said a Labor spokesperson.

“We need real change, because more of the same isn’t good enough.”

The 2Spirits program will be delivered by QuAC by adopting a whole-of-community approach, in consultation with local Indigenous health services.

This program has had well known successes in community engagement and education, most notably the introduction of Condoman and Lubelicious, the safe-sex superheroes.

“We know that community-centred care works best, not only in helping to close the gap but also in strengthening communities and creating positive social outcomes,” said the Labor representative.

“We cannot close the gap if we do not deliver effective, accessible and culturally appropriate health services to First Australians.

“LGBTIQ First Australians also face a range of difficulties, and programs like 2Spirits work with communities and individuals to break down barriers and deliver services that save lives.”

The announced funding for 2Spirits is in addition to Labor’s $39 million Make HIV History commitment, which includes $10 million a year to renew Australia’s HIV response by restoring the funding and capacity that the Liberals have cut from HIV peak organisations, and $3 million a year to target ‘hidden populations’.

This investment comes on top of Labor’s $115 million First Nations health package, including $20 million for sexual health promotion.

The Labor spokesperson said that the Liberal Party had a record of cutting funding from health.

“As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he delivered, including $7.2 million cut from the Cairns Hospital and over $1 million cut from hospitals across the Cape and Torres Strait,” they said.

“This program was delivering important benefits for marginalised Australians, but the LNP cut its funding. Only Labor is promising a better deal.

“Labor knows that community and social engagement play a key role in health and prevention. That’s why we will always fight for better care and investment in the services that matter to Australians.”

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