29th August 2023 12:20
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan): 
My question is for the Minister for Equality Minister Shing, so I will ask my question to the Attorney-General today. I understand that the minister recently met with a large group of community representatives for a round table on anti-vilification and discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ community. Just this morning we saw the release of the Trans Justice Project and the Victorian Pride Lobby’s new report tracking the horrific escalation of anti-trans hate nationally. The need for urgent action is clear, but concerns have been shared with us about a lack of clear commitment to action, so my question is: what measurable outcomes did the minister achieve throughout this community round table?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services): 
I thank Ms Payne for her question and her ongoing interest in this really important issue, which crosses over a number of portfolios – as well as Ms Shing’s, mine and Minister Brooks’s – in the development of a new anti-vilification approach to tackling hate and intolerance and promoting respect in Victoria. That round table – she has a lot – I think my staff went along to as well just to make sure that we are all aware of the issues that people are raising to ensure that when the consultations are completed and we get to the point where we are drafting legislation it is picking up all of the people’s views and doing hopefully what it is intended to do.

I am sure that Ms Shing can give you a bit more of an update in relation to that meeting, but lots of meetings will continue to happen, both with our representatives and leaders in the LGBTIQ+ community and with a lot of action in relation to those leaders in the multifaith and multicultural areas, to make sure that anti-vilification reforms are doing what we want them to do – that is, protect all vulnerable community members in Victoria, which is what I think Victorians expect. That work is underway; engagement has started. Consultations are really important. I think you will appreciate, and I have been on the record before saying, that a legal response is just one element of this. Continued conversations, community engagement and demonstrating that there are a lot of us that really care about this and want to get it right I think have an added benefit to just a law that, frankly, we do not really want to have to apply.

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan):
I thank the Attorney for her response and for passing my question on to Minister Shing for some detail in terms of the round table. By way of supplementary, I ask the minister: will you respond formally to the Victorian Pride Lobby’s report?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services): 
I will pass that question on to Minister Shing for her response.

Written Answer
Received: 30 August 2023
Hon Harriet Shing MP
(Minister for Housing, Minister for Water, Minister for Equality)

Discrimination and hatred towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer communities based on who they are is simply not acceptable. In Victoria, we have zero tolerance for hate, discrimination, and vilification against anyone, including trans and gender diverse people.

The Victorian Government is committed to safety and equality for all LGBTIQ+ Victorians. We remain dedicated to providing safe spaces and communities to ensure there is a place for all Victorians to be proud and live life to its fullest.

On 9 August 2023, I hosted a roundtable with LGBTIQ+ community members to discuss the continued threats to our communities, and the impact this has had on LGBTIQ+ events and the people trying to deliver them.

The roundtable was attended by a wide cross-section of LGBTIQ+ leaders, artists, services, and organisations impacted, including regional representation, public libraries, local council and trans and gender diverse leaders. The discussion identified key priorities that would support LGBTIQ+ communities and organisations. Work to progress commitments from the discussion is already underway, and includes the following:

  • Increased support for the community:
    • The Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities will undertake a regional yarning circle tour to continue to engage LGBTIQ+ communities across Victoria on the impacts they are experiencing, and to promote avenues for support and assistance.
    • Roundtable participants will share partnerships approaches and resources that are working in communities
  • Consolidation of action across government portfolios:
    • I will provide a summary of themes and opportunities for action to roundtable participants, including advice on work underway in other areas such as Victoria Police.
    • I have committed to report back to the group on anti-vilification reform work done to date and next steps.
  • Increased advocacy and influence across government:
    • I will continue these conversations with relevant Ministers, and through the Equality portfolio to ensure cross-portfolio coordination.
    • The Equality portfolio will work across government departments and portfolios to help streamline discussions on these issues, including through the Pride in our future Interdepartmental Steering Group

The themes raised by the Victorian Pride Lobby and others were echoed through the roundtable discussions and will be addressed through ongoing community engagement, including through the Ministerial LGBTIQ+ Taskforce, Justice and Health and Wellbeing Working Groups.

On 2 May the Attorney-General confirmed the next phase of work to expand anti-vilification laws that would protect LGBTIQ+ Victorians from hate crimes will occur over the next 18 months. As Minister for Equality, I will continue to work with the Attorney-General on the next phase of work to expand anti-vilification laws to protect LGBTIQ+ Victorians from hate crimes. This work will continue to engage with community stakeholders to understand issues, concerns, and opportunities.

Victoria’s 10-year roadmap for equality across our state, Pride in Our Future, drives our efforts to ensure all Victorians feel safe, are healthy, have equal human rights and can live wholly and freely.

The Victorian Government continues to make a range of investments to support trans and gender diverse Victorians, including:

  • $1.5 million over two years in life saving supports to extend the Trans and Gender Diverse in Community Health program
  • $2 million in funding committed in 2021/22 to the Trans and Gender Diverse Peer Support Program, delivered in partnership with Transgender Victoria, for targeted peer support program for trans and gender diverse communities to support broader wellbeing needs
  • $900,000 emergency funding in March 2023 to fund eight organisations that support trans and gender diverse Victorians and their families.


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