The Victorian Labor government has announced that its 2018-2019 budget includes $5.4 million to celebrate the state’s pride events and expand LGBTI health and support programs.

The state government will provide $2 million to establish a Pride Events and Festivals fund to support events across the state, including $600,000 for the Midsumma Festival.

“Victoria leads our nation in equality, and we want to give our LGBTI community the chance to celebrate their diversity with festivals right across the state,” said Martin Foley, Minister for Equality.

“We’re also making the investments needed to ensure every LGBTI Victorian, including trans and gender diverse Victorians, have access to the healthcare and support they deserve.”

The Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) has welcomed the announcement of funding.

“The state government is not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk, in regard to our community,” said co-convenor Dale Park.

“This funding boost is not only welcome, but very much needed.”

$3.4 million of the funding will be used to expand the Victorian health system’s capacity to support trans and gender diverse people, ensuring they can receive the healthcare they need, as well as additional training for healthcare staff across the state.

Peer support services will also be established to make sure trans and gender diverse Victorians, and their families, have access to the support they need when they need it.

“This is a clear commitment from the state government to support trans and gender diverse people and ensure their health and wellbeing is addressed in a pro-active and holistic way,” said Park.

Building on last year’s $1.9 billion in family violence funding, the government has committed an additional $101.6 million to support survivors, improve refuge responses and help develop preventative behaviour change campaigns.

The VGLRL said the state government must ensure its commitment to fighting LGBTI family violence is maintained beyond the 2018-2019 budget.

“It is vital that the needs of LGBTI people are considered within the funding being provided for family violence,” said Park.

“There has been significant work undertaken in relation to LGBTI family violence and we would like to ensure this continues.

“Having safe and appropriate housing and support services for the LGBTI community is essential.”

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