The Australian Federal Budget for 2022-23 will be put to Parliament on Tuesday 29 March.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) has called on the Government to invest in removing address serious LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing disparities in a strategic and targeted way.
LGBTIQ+ people are identified as a priority population in many national strategies, including the National Drug and Alcohol Strategy, National Men’s Health Strategy, National Women’s Health Strategy and National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. These acknowledge disproportionate rates of illness and disadvantage, the limited impact of existing approaches, and the need for targeted responses. Progress has been variable due to limited coordination and investment.
LHA is seeking commitment and funding for a National LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing coordination office to drive whole-of-government delivery of national priorities and strategies, in consultation with LGBTIQ+ communities. A priority outcome needs to be the consolidation of existing national policies, strategies and action plans to develop a 10-year whole-of-government National LGBTIQ+ Health and Wellbeing Action Plan.
We are also seeking investment in better data and research to drive policy and action. We seek targeted support for the LGBTIQ+ community-controlled health sector to increase sustainability, enhance capacity to meet demand and expand geographical reach.
Other priorities in our submission include budget investment in:
- intersex organisations to work with government to implement the 2021 Australian Human Rights Commission’s report and to deliver a national support service to improve access to information, counselling and peer support.
- a targeted program with Primary Health Networks to undertake a needs assessment on the health needs of LGBTIQ+ people and communities in each region to better invest in LGBTIQ+ community-controlled health organisations for targeted health programs and build the capacity of the primary care sector to work in a culturally competent way.
- providing LGBTIQ+ Health Australia with capacity to engage with the National Suicide Prevention Office and support its work for LGBTIQ+ people as an identified priority population.
- specific LGBTIQ+ mental health funding to build the capacity of LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations to scale up targeted mental health services, especially peer-based supports, and to work with mainstream services to expand LGBTIQ+ inclusive care.
- extending aged care community volunteer visitors schemes to all jurisdictions and areas, delivered by LGBTIQ+ health organisations, including a digital component as an effective and low-cost way to link LGBTI visitors with rural and remote consumers.
- reviewing feasibility and strategies to effectively deliver gender affirming care through the public health system including adequate coverage by the Medical Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.