Victorian Labor has committed to backing a Melbourne Pride celebration in 2021 if re-elected at the state election this coming Saturday.

The street party would take place on Smith Street and Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, and involve the surrounding pubs, bars, and restaurants in a European-style street celebration similar to those held in London, New York, and Berlin.

The pride event would help to mark the 40th anniversary of Victoria decriminalising homosexuality and would be organised by Visit Victoria, working alongside community leaders.

Labor’s Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, said the state had come a long way since decriminalisation.

“There’s no better way to mark this milestone than an event where our LGBTI community can celebrate with friends, family, and allies alike,” he said in a statement.

Victorian Labor also announced a number of funding packages for LGBTI initiatives, including $2.5 million to expand family counselling services for LGBTI Victorians, $500,000 for mental health support in the LGBTI community, and $3 million towards targeting the root causes of homelessness for LGBTI Victorians.

Chief Executive of Midsumma Festival, Melbourne’s annual pride festival, said the Midsumma team were supportive of additional money coming into the sector, “particularly in health, mental health, and regional support”.

“With regards to [Melbourne Pride], Labor have reached out to us regarding us playing a role in its development and we look forward to furthering the discussion about how an exciting event that complements Midsumma Festival’s current offering can be realised,” she told the Star Observer.

Victoria’s Liberal Nationals have also committed to inject funding into the LGBTI sector, in a statement released over the weekend by leader of the opposition, Matthew Guy.

This will include $2 million to develop a new LGBTI tourism strategy, involving an LGBTI marketing campaign “that will target national and international opportunities and raise the profile of Victoria as a premium destination for LGBTI visitors”.

Shadow Minister for Equality, David Davis, said he would work with the LGBTI sector to see the implementation of the party’s agenda.

“The Liberal Nationals worked hard in government to support the LGBTI community with many important initiatives; expungement of old convictions, initiating the repeal of Section 19A, beginning the first Australian PrEP trial, Pronto, and other important initiatives,” he said.

“Liberals and Nationals recognise the contribution made by the many LGBTI to the Victorian community and look to strengthen this, including building upon the significant economic contribution through our tourism announcement today.”

A recent survey conducted by the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) revealed where political parties stood on key policy issues affecting the LGBTI community.

The VGLRL said Labor committed to retaining and expanding key LGBTI programs such as the state’s first LGBTI multicultural grants program, but didn’t go far enough to end religious discrimination in public services.

They also expressed concern over the responses to the survey provided by the Liberal Nationals, given their silence on a vast majority of the issues put forward to them.

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