Members of the LGBT community in Cairns have attempted to confront Premier Campbell Newman to express concern that reforms by the LNP Government will have a negative impact on the state’s tourism industry.

A dozen locals gathered outside the Destination Q conference at the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino last week to draw awareness to what they say is the likely effect that reforms to civil partnerships and surrogacy, and funding cuts to LGBT services would have on gay tourism.

Destination Q is an industry conference established by the state government to help boost Queensland’s tourism industry.

Cairns LGBT Alliance spokeswoman Joanne Leamy said LGBT people are a dream market for the tourism industry as they have higher disposable incomes.

“LGBT people travel more widely than their heterosexual counterparts, both domestically and internationally, and choose destinations recommended by friends known for their LGBT-friendliness,” she said.

“By bullying, attacking, alienating and removing the human rights of Queensland LGBT citizens, the LNP Government is sending a clear message to this community around Australia and the rest of the world that they are unwelcome.”

The state’s only LGBT health organisation, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, was defunded by the LNP Government in May. It provides HIV prevention work with gay men, awareness training, and drug and alcohol services.

In June, the Government rolled back civil unions into a relationship register and indicated it will abolish surrogacy rights for single people and same-sex couples.

Leamy said these reforms contradicted Newman’s pre-election commitment that the priority in the first 100 days of government would be getting the economy “back on track”.

“Our presence outside the Destination Q conference has come out of desperation as Mr Newman and the LNP have still not met with anyone from the LGBT community to hear our concerns, despite implementing these changes that directly affect us,” she said.

“We hope that our friends and allies in the tourism industry understand the importance of these issues, and consider the impact that this newfound hostility towards the LGBT community may have on their businesses.”

Photo: Melody Moore.

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