ACON has welcomed the announcement today from NSW Labor pledging $4.2 million for the establishment of a health and community centre for LGBTIQ people in NSW.
The ‘NSW Pride Health and Community Centre’ will be developed in partnership between ACON and the Inner West Council, and will be established in the Inner West Local Government Area.
The centre will provide much-needed health care, support and referral services for LGBTIQ people and their families across the state. It will also serve as a community, meeting and social hub for local LGBTIQ communities.
In welcoming the announcement, ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said: “ACON welcomes this commitment from NSW Labor, which will see the establishment of a much-needed centre that will help in improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.
“LGBTIQ people experience significant disparities in many areas of health compared to the general population. And we know that for many LGBTI people, accessing critical health services can be a challenging and difficult process with barriers such as discrimination, stigma, fear of ‘coming out’ or refusal of service.
“With this health and community centre, we aim to provide a facility where LGBTIQ people can feel safe, understood and included as they seek health care,” Mr Parkhill said. “The establishment of a multi-disciplinary, community-driven health service will help address significant gaps in health service delivery for LGBTIQ people and their families.
“We also know that when LGBTIQ people access health care in NSW, our data is not collected in the health system,” Mr Parkhill added. “Comprehensive data about the health and wellbeing of people in our communities is critical to developing evidence for the most effective health treatments and programs.
“Through the centre, we will seek to partner with research bodies to strengthen evidence around effective health service provisions and interventions that assist LGBTIQ people to take control of their health, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
The proposed location for the centre is in the Inner West Local Government Area, an area with a very large LGBTIQ population.
“It is a part of Sydney that is very diverse and as such, LGBTIQ people can feel safe to access services in the area,” Mr Parkhill said. “This is reinforced by the fact that the area is among the highest in the state that returned a ‘yes’ vote during last year’s postal survey on equal marriage reform.
“The Inner West is also an important transport hub which will help facilitate people from outside of this area of Sydney to access this service.
But while the centre will be situated in metropolitan Sydney, Mr Parkhill said it would also be a statewide integrated health service, providing clinical support to clients and other health care providers across NSW via telehealth.
“Our vision is for an accessible and inclusive health and community centre that understands and responds to the needs of LGBTIQ people and their families across NSW,” Mr Parkhill said.
“To strengthen the health and wellbeing of our communities, it is vital we are able to access a statewide health service that provides appropriate and tailored care, and records important data that will inform the development of future health programs and services.
“We sincerely thank NSW Labor for their support for the centre, and look forward to working with Inner West Council and a wide range of partners to see this vision realised.”