City to create LGBTIQA+ Action Plan

June 10, 2024 BY

The City of Greater Geelong unveiled its Rainbow Crossing on Yarra Street in December last year. Ph

THE City of Greater Geelong has confirmed it will develop a dedicated LGBTIQA+ Action Plan to better facilitate inclusion across the region.

The plan will provide a framework and series of actions that respond to the priorities and experiences of the local LGBTIQA+ community and follows a request from advocacy group Rainbow Local Government that the city develops such an action plan.

Geelong councillor Sarah Hathway said collaboration with the community was key to making progress on inclusivity.

“Council looks forward to seeing the community involved in developing our first LGBTIQA+ Action Plan for our region,” she said.

Last month the city also released a ‘high-level summary’ report detailing its progress on the Victorian government’s Rainbow Ready Roadmap.

Launched in May 2022, the roadmap supports the state government’s LGBTQIA+ strategy and provides regional and rural communities with a set of resources designed to bolster LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

Capturing actions taken by the city up to April this year, the report suggests progress is being made across each of the 15 indicators identified in the roadmap for local governments to achieve.

These indicators are divided across four categories which broadly aim to improve LGBTQIA+ understanding, inclusion, visibility and safety.

The report suggests strong performance from the city in supporting LGBTQIA+ events, providing support to local LGBTQIA+ initiatives through council grants, incorporating inclusive language and imagery across information produced by the council, and taking opportunities to fly the rainbow or trans flags.

However, several gaps have also been identified.

Notably, despite LGBTQIA+ inclusion training opportunities being available to city employees, only a “low number” have so far completed the learning, and the city does not currently have a formal statement of LGBTQIA+ inclusion that is publicly visible, a standalone indicator on the Rainbow Ready Roadmap.

Specific engagement with the LGBTQIA+ community regarding their everyday safety has also not been undertaken, nor has the city finalised its guidelines for hosting safe LGBTQIA+ events and developed efficient solutions for managing hate speech.

Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan said the city was committed to making the region “even safer and more welcoming for the LGBTIQA+ community”.

“Making Greater Geelong more LGBTIQA+ inclusive is important for both the council and city.

“We know that LGBTIQA+ people in regional Victoria experience higher rates of family violence and are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression due to oppressive societal stigma and discrimination.

“While the city has been recognised for its work in the LGBTIQA+ space in the past, there is still a lot of work to do.”