Federal Ageing Minister Mark Butler has revealed the “groundbreaking” strategy to ensure older LGBTI people feel more safe and secure in aged care services.
The National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy marks the first time the Australian government has released a strategy specifically addressing LGBTI health and wellbeing.
The strategy will reward LGBTI aged care initiatives and ensure all government-funded aged care providers promote inclusion and deal with discrimination.
The Ageing Department will work with the national rights body for older Australians to look into LGBTI issues and make sure the complaints body, Aged Care Complaints Scheme, addresses LGBTI inclusion in pamphlets and other materials.
The Ageing Minister said the strategy committed the government to high quality, culturally appropriate aged care for LGBTI people.
“This Strategy was recommended by the Productivity Commission as well as groups including ACON Health, the National LGBTI Health Alliance and the GLBTI Retirement Association,” Butler said.
“We want people to be part of the decision making on how services are developed, we want people to be supported to make good decisions about the care they receive and ultimately we want people to get the kind of care they expect and deserve.”
LGBTI Health Alliance general manager Warren Talbot told the Star Observer it was a substantial advance for older LGBTI people.
“It’s the first time the Commonwealth government has developed and released a national strategy on a LGBTI policy issue, so I think it’s historic and groundbreaking,” he said.
“It’s not everything the Alliance members wanted but I think it’s a… substantial advance for LGBTI older people.”
Alliance chair Susan Ditter congratulated the minister.
“For the first time, there is now an overarching national framework, with guiding principles and goals for the Australian Government to achieve,” she said.
Ditter said the Alliance had been closely involved with the strategy development, jointly chairing the strategy steering committee.
Talbot said many aged care services had expressed interest in becoming financial members of the Alliance to show they were LGBTI-friendly.
He said organisations, such as nursing homes, who were affiliated with the Alliance were “likely to be smiled upon favourably by the Commonwealth than those who don’t”.
He said he was confident there were no homophobic businesses affiliated with the Alliance and they were reviewing organisations that applied.
Talbot said the Alliance would be looking at developing a ‘charter of service delivery’ next year.