Canberra is Australia’s Capital of Equality
The Capital of Equality Strategy sets out how the ACT Government will continue to make Canberra the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia. This means ensuring Canberra is a place where LGBTIQ+ people, their families and communities are visible, valued and respected. Our whole community benefits when all Canberrans can contribute and participate to their full potential.
Over the next four years the strategy will guide the ACT Government’s focus on:
- Fostering understanding and awareness of LGBTIQ+ people and issues so that barriers to equality can be removed.
- Delivering more inclusive and accessible services.
- Continuing reforms to ensure equal rights are reflected in law, data and policies.
The first action plan under the Capital of Equality strategy explains the changes that the Government wants to make by the end of 2020 to improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ Canberrans.
The ACT Government is committed to ensuring all Canberrans are treated equally and our laws should reflect these standards.
The Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020 (the Bill) has been introduced to ban conversion practices.
The Bill proposes that it would be a criminal offence for conversion practices directed at protected persons, and anybody affected will be able to make a complaint to the Humans Right Commission.
The Bill defines protected persons to mean 'a child or a person who has impaired decision-making ability in relation to a matter relating to the person's health or welfare'.
The government first announced plans to legislate to prohibit conversation practices in May 2018. This prohibition was also included in the Capital of Equality First Action Plan 2019-2020. You can read more about the engagement process that contributed to the development of the Capital of Equality Strategy and First Action Plan.
To inform the development of the Bill, a direct consultation was held with stakeholders most likely to be affected by this change. This included the education, disability, religious, health, LGBTIQ+ and legal sectors.
The Bill was introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 13 August 2020.
Conversations about conversion practices may bring up strong feelings and questions. Be assured you are not alone, and that there are many services and support groups available to assist. Some options for advice and support include Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Westlund Counselling on 02 6257 2855.
Applications are now closed for the 2020 Capital of Equality Grants.
A list of organisations who have previously received grants through the Capital of Equality Grants program is available here.
The Canberra Inclusive Partnership is a new program providing targeted, peer-led services to support and strengthen LGBTIQ+ Canberrans.
- 1000 hours of peer-led psychosocial support services to LGBTIQ+ people and their families; and
- 100 hours of training and tailored support to build the capacity of mainstream service providers to deliver inclusive and appropriate services to LGBTIQ+ people, their families, and communities.
This investment will help peer-led LGBTIQ+ agencies like the AIDS Action Council and A Gender Agenda meet evolving community needs over the coming years, tackle new and emerging issues and be more active and visible in the Canberra community.
About the Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs
The Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs coordinates and supports strategic government projects and policy to promote Canberra as the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia. It is located within the Policy and Cabinet Division of the Chief Minister Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.
- coordinates a whole of government approach for promoting Canberra as the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in the country
- engages relevant areas of government with subject matter expertise to implement legislative reform, promote inclusive events, and appropriately targeted services for LGBTIQ+ people
- supports and engages with the LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council on matters where the government is seeking advice and guidance
- provides policy advice to the Chief Minister on LGBTIQ+ matters.
Please note: LGBTIQ+ is respectfully being used as an umbrella term to refer collectively to a wider range of people than just those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and/or queer. The use of the acronym is not intended to exclude people that may not be specifically represented by this term.
For further enquiries please contact the Office by email LGBTIQOffice@act.gov.au.