WE are fortunate in NSW in that we have a political landscape that is largely built on a bipartisan foundation for addressing many of the issues that we, as a community, face. This is true of health issues more broadly, but HIV specifically.
If history has taught us one thing, it is that in order to have a truly effective HIV response, bipartisan support is required.
To help inform our communities ahead of the NSW State Election, ACON, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Positive Life NSW, the Sex Workers Outreach Project, and Organisation Intersex International Australia surveyed the three major parties as well as key independents on a range of issues relevant to the LGBTI communities and people with HIV.
If you have not yet had a chance to see how each of the parties and key independents have responded, and how they are positioned on the key issues facing our communities, make sure you check out the responses before you cast your vote tomorrow.
We have had some very encouraging commitments made to our communities and ACON is thrilled that all parties and independents are supportive of current the NSW HIV Strategy and its central aim to end HIV transmission by 2020.
Other notable commitments across the political spectrum include removing the co-payment for HIV medication, support for greater HIV testing options (including self-testing), hosting a drug summit, establishing a LGBTI Ministerial Advisory Committee, developing a NSW Government LGBTI Health Strategy, improving health collection data sets to give greater visibility to our communities, reviewing the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, and making sure all mainstream health services are required to apply non-discriminatory policies.
So no matter how you chose to vote this weekend, make sure you are as informed as we expect our elected parliamentarians to be.
Nicolas Parkhill is the CEO of the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON).