Delivery of #LGBTIBlackLivesMatter change.org petition to Ken Wyatt MP
A petition organised by the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) and the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) aimed at reversing Federal funding cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sexual health programs in QLD and NT, was today delivered to Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Indigenous Health.
The petition was formulated as a response to the Federal government’s decision to halt funding to QuAC’s 2 Spirits Program and NTAHC’s Aboriginal Sexual Health Program, effective 30 June 2017.
Both programs have been active for over 21 years, and remain the only community programs in the NT and QLD delivering specific and culturally safe sexual health promotion and education directly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ people, including Sistergirls and Brotherboys.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have STI rates up to 20 x higher than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and constitute 60% of people living with chronic hepatitis B in the Northern Territory.
Funding has been utilised by NTAHC employee teams based in Darwin and Alice Springs, and QuAC employees out of Brisbane and Cairns. All have been working both regionally and remotely, assisting specific populations that often experience difficulties accessing mainstream health services.
Created and distributed online via change.org, the petition has received overwhelming community support, with well over 3000 signatories at the time of writing. Many signatories expressed their dismay at the government’s decision to defund the 2 Spirits and Aboriginal Sexual Health programs without adequate consultation or review or the implementation of alternative services.
“We are incredibly heartened by the widespread support we have received in the face of the proposed funding cuts” said Paul Dawson, Acting Executive Director of NTAHC. “The 2 Spirits and Aboriginal Sexual Health programs have made a real difference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations throughout QLD and NT for decades, and it would be devastating if they were to be shut down indefinitely”.
“In light of this petition we look forward to a public response from Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Indigenous Health, and real further public engagement that doesn’t mean abandoning these LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sexual health programs. We are looking at real and immediate devastation in this specific LGBTI community ” said Michael Scott, Executive Director, Queensland AIDS Council.
Michael Scott, Executive Director, QuAC - Ph. 07 3017 1716
Paul Dawson, Acting Executive Director, NTAHC – Ph. 08 8944 7703
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