Labor’s lord mayoral candidate for Sydney, Linda Scott, has committed to an increase in funding and support for Mardi Gras and NSW HIV/AIDS organisation, ACON.

In an announcement earlier this week, Scott said that if elected, Sydney Labor would commit the City of Sydney to increasing its support of the LGBTI community and providing long-term funding certainty to Mardi Gras and ACON to the tune of $3.2 million over four years.

Under the policy, funding for Mardi Gras would increase to $250,000 annually, whilst ACON will receive $100,000. The funding would be directly budgeted for without the need for the organisations to apply for annual grants.

“It is extremely important to recognise the role of the LGBTI community and these very important organisations by funding Mardi Gras and ACON directly, providing certainty for the future,” Scott said.

“They can make long-term strategic planning decisions based on the knowledge that funding will be guaranteed.”

In recognition of the 35th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Labor has also committed to providing cash and in kind support to $1 million to establish the proposed Mardi Gras museum.

Sydney Labor’s Damian Spruce, who’s second on the council ticket, said the party recognises that Mardi Gras is synonymous with Sydney.

“The festival isn’t just about the parade or the party it is also about remembering those people whose struggle back in 1978 gave birth to a movement,” Spruce said.

“For this reason we want to commemorate their activism with a museum, and recognise the important role that Mardi Gras continues to play.”

A separate new grants funding programme would also be established under Labor to allocate $200,000 to assist the work of other community groups involved in LGBTI rights, advocacy, health and housing.

“We also need to support other community groups who provide services and advocate for the health, wellbeing, and rights of the LGBTI community. That is why we have established a new grant program for those groups to apply for funding,” Scott said.

“Many people have also told me that more needs to be done to improve safety in and around Oxford St. We’re committed to addressing this situation and making sure Sydney is safe for everyone.”

Sydney Labor has also committed to a strategic review and the creation of an LGBTI cultural plan to involve the community in council processes.

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