LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) welcomes the investment in the 2022-23 Federal budget that will improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians and continues to call for specific funding measures to directly address LGBTIQ+ health priorities.
The budget includes broad investments in key health disparities such as mental health and suicide prevention, domestic, family and sexual violence prevention, and ageing and aged care. Other than the announcement of the 6-month extension of emergency COVID-19 funding for digital mental health services which will see continued investment in QLife, these announcements are not targeted, and it is unclear how LGBTIQ+ people and communities will benefit.
LHA welcomes investments in the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030 where LGBTIQ+ people are recognised as a priority population and the $104.4 million investment to expand the reach of national domestic, family, and sexual violence prevention organisation Our Watch to improve its reach in diverse communities including LGBTIQ+ people.
Despite being identified as a priority population in a range of existing national strategies, LGBTIQ+ health remains without direct funding to LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations. Of the recommendations made in LHA’s pre-budget submission, none were funded in the 2022-23 Budget.
LGBTIQ+ people are more likely than the general population to experience poor health outcomes, and these are linked to experiences of discrimination, stigma, and exclusion. Current research shows that LGBTQA+ young people aged 16 to 17 were almost five times more likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
Nicky Bath, (she/her) CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia said, “LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations are unable to meet the demand for their services and we need urgent investment to address the health disparities LGBTIQ+ people and communities continue to live with.”
Investment into generalist services does not necessarily translate into a direct health benefit for LGBTIQ+ people and there needs to be an urgent reassessment of funding processes when engaging generalist organisations to provide services and programs to LGBTIQ+ communities.”
LHA is calling on all parties and independent candidates in the upcoming Federal election to commit to its Election Priorities, which support the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people.
Ms Bath said, “LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations across Australia undertake incredible work to support our communities. These organisations urgently need funding to build their stability, sustainability, and capacity to meet the needs of LGBTIQ+ communities. Without this investment, the health disparities we see in available data will only continue.”
LHA’s Budget Submission: https://www.lgbtiqhealth.org.au/budget_submission_2022_2023
LHA’s Federal Election Priorities: https://www.lgbtiqhealth.org.au/electionpriorities
Nicky Bath, Chief Executive Officer