LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) has welcomed a commitment to health equity in the Federal Government’s 2021-2030 National Preventative Health Strategy (NPHS), and the announcement that LHA is one of the twenty-one health groups across Australia that has been awarded funding under the Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Program.
The Strategy has highlighted the health disparities between LGBTIQ+ communities and the wider community, particularly in cancer detection, tobacco and alcohol use, and mental health and suicide prevention. These disparities are linked to discrimination and stigma, social and economic exclusion, and marginalisation, which the NPHS also acknowledges.
Nicky Bath (she/her), CEO said, “This is a great day for the preventative health of LGBTIQ+ people and communities. The launch of the Strategy and the inclusion of LHA in the announcement of the Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Program acknowledges that the ongoing health disparities experienced by many LGBTIQ+ people require a focused lens”.
LHA welcomes the identification by the NPHS of disadvantaged and marginalised communities as priority populations, and the Strategy’s aim for government to work with community, cultural and non-government organisations to achieve health goals. The Strategy has set important goals to improve the physical and mental health of all Australians and has acknowledged that to improve health outcomes across the board that different strategies and responses are needed for those that have specific health needs.
Ms Bath continued, “Receiving funding from Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Program will enable LHA to increase its capacity to better address the preventative health needs of LGBTIQ+ people and communities with our members, who make up the LGBTIQ+ health sector at the forefront. We look forward to strengthening our peak functions and to ensure that the LGBTIQ+ health sector that we serve are well represented to the Commonwealth to assist them to achieve the goals set out in the NPHA.”
LHA calls on the Commonwealth Government to further strengthen the announcements today by ensuring that the Australian Bureau of Statistics Standard for Sex, Gender, Variation of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, 2020 ('2020 Standard') is embedded in all data sets. Government and non-government health organisations require data to properly understand need and the evidence base, to be able to invest in well target programs and measure the progress of the NPHS.
Ms Bath concluded, “As we wrap up 2021, it is wonderful to know that as we move into 2022 we will be doing so with a focused preventative health lens and a stronger LGBTIQ+ health peak body. We are grateful to the Commonwealth Government, and to everyone involved in the development of the NPHS and look forward to continuing to reduce and eliminate the health disparities experienced by LGBTIQ+ people.”