THE Victorian Government is set to provide $50,000 in funding to explore the possibility of creating a Pride Centre in Melbourne.

The state’s Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen made the announcement during the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby’s (VGLRL) annual general meeting last night.

[showads ad=MREC]Allen said the centre would act as a hub for local LGBTI community groups and organisations, and provide a home for the diverse work being done in the sector.

“[In the centre] I’d love to see an industry start up hub for businesses, like an incubator, and a café where people can meet, because I think breaking bread together is important,” Allen told the Star Observer.

“I also want to our archives on display, I want us to recognise our elders, and I want it to be a place to advertise and do health promotion as well.”

If the centre is approved, it would emulate similar endeavours around the world including San Francisco’s LGBT Community Centre.

However, Allen pointed out that the government funding wouldn’t guarantee the establishment of a centre — it would only help with a feasibility and business plan.

“The $50,000 is really to explore the possibility, it’s not a commitment by the government to do that,” Allen said.

“But it’s timely, because there are a number of organisations that may be looking for a new home, and with this we can share our resources and have one centre where we can come together in strength.

“It’s going to be fairly quick and slick if we’re going to get a proposal to the government… I have my fingers crossed that people share my vision.”

During the VGLRL’s meeting, co-convenors Anna Brown and Sean Mulcahy also discussed issues the lobby intended to tackle in the upcoming year.

Most recently the VGLRL had success in campaigning for adoption equality, with a recent bill tabled in state parliament that, if it passes, would same-sex couples to jointly adopt in Victoria.

Brown said next year the lobby will work closely with Victorian Police to explore hate crimes and public harassment against LGBTI people.

“We’re really excited about another year working closely with a government that has a really ambitious law reform agenda in the equality space,” she told the Star Observer.

“We’ll be working hard to support that agenda, but also to strengthen reforms when we think that’s required.

“We’ll be working on specific projects that we’ve identified as important to the community more broadly, such as looking at whether we’re responding to LGBT hate crimes in the right way… the Victorian Police will be a key partner in that project as well as the anti-violence project and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.”

Mulcahy said the VGLRL would soon hold a planning day to help flesh out their upcoming agenda.

“We’ll be inviting organisations such as Bi Alliance and Transgender Victoria to set our agenda, because our agenda is shaped by what the community wants,” he told the Star Observer.

“So we need to sit down with key community advocates, find out what they want, and set our agenda for the upcoming year.”

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