Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care - Speech - 1 March 2023

Read Assistant Minister Ged Kearney's speech at the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference.

The Hon Ged Kearney MP
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care

Media event date:
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Speech
Audience:
General public

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Thank you for your warm welcome Teddy.

I met Teddy on Friday at ACON and heard about the amazing team he leads – so I’ll give them all a big shoutout here this morning.

Can I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land – the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation – and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

I extend that respect to other First Nations people here today.

I’d like to particularly acknowledge the leadership role First Nations people are rightly playing in WorldPride and especially here at the Human Rights Conference.

I am proud to be part of a Government committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in full. Voice. Treaty. Truth.

I’d also like to acknowledge our esteemed panellists, Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, Dr Ruth McNair AM,  Assoc. Prof. Adam Borne and Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo. I thank them for sharing their knowledge, experience and wisdom.

Well… happy World Pride!

It’s a pleasure to be with you all today.

The city is abuzz – I was lucky enough to be at the opening concert on Friday night which was great fun. 

But what I found particularly special about the concert – and this is true of Mardi Gras, and of Midsumma in Victoria - is it did an amazing job of striking the balance between a celebration of our LGBTIQA+ communities, while staying true to the spirit of activism which has underpinned pride for so long.

The wonderful Robyn Kennedy, who represented the 78ers on stage on Friday put it beautifully. She said;

“We are unstoppable because our task is not simply a cause, it is our very existence. Our right to live freely and openly. And while tonight we celebrate, we never forget those prevented from doing so. We gather here for them because no matter the barriers we face in the community we never turn back. We never give up. We always rise."

I know that’s the spirit in which you have all gathered here at the World Pride Human Rights conference.

And for Australia, in hosting World Pride and this conference, we’re presented with an important opportunity to, yes, acknowledge how far we have come, but also to acknowledge the failures of the past, to identify what needs our attention, and determine how we can get where we need to go.

There is still so much work to be done, especially in improving health outcomes for LGBTIQA+ people.

We know that they have poorer physical and mental health outcomes, unique and often complex health needs, and difficulty finding and accessing appropriate health care.

This is especially so for young people.

And despite all we have achieved there is still discrimination and bias in this country - both casual and overt. 

This is, of course, inextricably linked to adverse health outcomes.

I know, and we as a government know, these issues are complicated and there is much more to do.

But first we must fully understand the needs – and wants – of the varying and diverse communities and individuals captured under the LGBTIQA+ umbrella.

Consultation and 10 Year National Action Plan

The new pathway to better health must be paved together.

That’s why we are undertaking Australia’s first-ever national health consultation with LGBTIQA+ people.

That consultation began in earnest yesterday when I hosted the first roundtable to discuss LGBTIQA+ health and wellbeing.

We heard first-hand the experiences and challenges faced by the community in getting the health care and support they need and deserve.

Listening to organisations and advocates in the room, it really resonated with me. It highlighted that we must commit to action.

Which is why I am proud to announce here today that the Albanese Labor Government will deliver a 10 Year National Action Plan for the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people.

The action plan will be informed by the national consultation, lived experiences of LGBTIQA+ people and the organisations that serve them.

The sector called for the Government to develop an action plan, and we listened.

And we will keep listening – the community’s voices will be front and centre as the plan is developed.

To that end, an advisory group will be established to inform and guide us to ensure the action plan reflects the needs of the community.
 

MRFF Funding
 

And I can assure you that we will not rest on our laurels while we await this national plan.

Sensible, critical work must, and will, continue to improve the lives of LGBTIQA+ people.

We know that the health system does not work well for gender and sexuality diverse people, and people with innate variations of sex characteristics.

Research is critical for better understanding their health needs, and improving how the health system can provide effective and safe care.

It’s with this in mind that I can also announce today that our Government will invest $26 million in research grants to find new and improved ways to provide health care to diverse LGBTIQA+ people.

This represents the largest ever investment into LGBTIQA+ research by an Australian Government.

Targeting various communities, intersectionality and geographic disadvantage, the grants will focus on co-design between consumers and researchers.

Again, this puts you and those you work with at the heart of progress.

Conclusion

So in closing, I’d like to say thank you.

Since becoming Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, I’ve had the privilege to meet many of the organisations, workers and activists working on the frontlines, delivering for your communities every day.

All too often this is done without funding.

And for too long this has been done without the support of Government.
Can I be clear and say to your sector – I see you.

I stand with you.

The commitments I’ve made this afternoon are for you, and they are because of your hard work.

And I can’t wait to continue working with you to deliver them.

Thank you for having me, and I look forward to listening to the panel.

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