IN a first for the council, the City of Moonee Valley last night approved a two-year LGBTIQ Action Plan.

“This action plan formalises our stance that at Moonee Valley City Council, we believe no one should face violence, discrimination or bullying because of who they are or whom they love,” Moonee Valley Mayer Cr Narelle Sharpe said.

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The plan comes as part of their Diversity Access and Equity Policy, which aims to celebrate diversity and foster a proactive, inclusive community.

“Sadly, LGBTIQ people are at least two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader community, and are at greater risk of suicide and self harm,” Sharpe said.

“That’s why this action plan is incredibly important.”

It details the creation of public displays, exhibitions and events to create an open and accepting environment.

It also provides plans to incorporate schools, and encourage council processes to be more inclusive, all of which will be reviewed annually, then updated at the close of 2015.

Cr Cam Nation, representative on the LGBTIQ Working Group formed to prioritise and enact the plan’s actions, praised the council’s steps to improve equality.

“I look forward to engaging with different parts of the community, and rolling out the plan’s actions to make Moonee Valley a better place to live, work and do business for our LGBTIQ residents,” he said.

The past six months have already seen a number of the plan’s actions delivered, including having a rainbow tent pitched at the Moonee Valley Festival, hosting a Walk With Pride exhibition for the annual Midsumma Festival, and having rainbow flags flown in May for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.

Cr Jim Cusack, portfolio holder for Community Engagement and Learning, expressed his hope that the policy will prompt residents, businesses, sporting clubs, and other parts of the community to “think more carefully” about discriminatory actions.

“I really want Moonee Valley to be one of those places where people feel embraced for being themselves,” he said.

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