The City of Sydney will hold a GLBT Forum in the next few months, similar to its regular Business Forums, with the view of making it a regular event.

“The first forum will focus on the City’s vision for Oxford St, in order to secure the GLBT community’s active involvement,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The Mardi Gras parade was a timely reminder of the significance of Oxford St to the GLBT community, Mardi Gras’ importance to Oxford St’s international reputation as an iconic gay destination and the GLBT community’s contribution to the City.”

A date for the first forum will be announced in the next few weeks.

On Monday Council passed unanimous motions in support of the Mardi Gras campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s 58 ’08 equality campaign.

“We’ve always been out there in same-sex recognition and the 58 ’08 campaign was worthy to put council’s shoulder behind,” Cr Phillip Black, who moved the equality motion told SSO.

Black said the former South Sydney Council introduced the first same-sex relationship recognition scheme to assist couples needing to prove their relationship.

While the scheme had improved since being taken over by Sydney Council, it has never been tested in court, so the council saw the campaign for federal equality as important.

The council also called on the NSW Government to contribute financially to the Mardi Gras parade in which only 10 percent of its $3.5 million budget comes from sponsorship – $120,000 from the City.

“Despite its significance as a hallmark event and positive impact on the NSW economy, Mardi Gras currently receives no direct funding from the NSW Government,” Moore said.

“Yet Mardi Gras’ value is greater than this direct economic impact. Mardi Gras does more to establish Sydney’s reputation as an exciting, vibrant travel destination than any other major event.”

Addressing the issue in parliament last week, Premier Iemma said he would ask the Major Events Board to consider it.

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