Chief Minister Andrew Barr has ordered an audit of ACT legislation to identify any harmful impacts the Territory’s laws may have on the LGBTIQ community.
The audit will be commissioned by the Office for LGBTIQ Affairs and cost $25,000, allocated as part of the More support for families and inclusion – Supporting health and wellbeing for LGBTIQ Canberrans initiative in the Midyear Budget Review.
Mr Barr said in a statement the issue was highlighted last year following public discussions about an exception in the Discrimination Act that may have allowed discrimination against students and staff in independent schools and educational institutions.
“We acted quickly to ensure these protections were strengthened and now we want to make sure that any other areas where our laws might need to be updated or improved are identified and addressed as soon as possible,” he said.
“The ACT is a human rights jurisdiction and all Canberrans, including the LGBTIQ community, deserve to be treated equally and live free from discrimination in all aspects of their lives.”
Mr Barr also said that it would be remiss of him personally not to ensure LGBTIQ people felt included in the ACT.
“Being the first and only openly gay head of government in Australian history, to not do something in my time in office to improve inclusion and equality for LGBTI people would be a failure of leadership,” he told the ABC.
Mr Barr also flagged the addition of a regular new event in the Canberra calendar after the success of the celebration marking the first anniversary of the marriage equality vote.
“I think there is interest in the community for that becoming a regular part of Canberra events calendar,” he said.
It would be organised by the Office for LGBTIQ Affairs, which been allocated $177,000 in the Budget Review to deliver projects and events which improve health and wellbeing for LGBTIQ Canberrans, as well as the audit of legislation.
The audit will be completed by the end of the financial year.
Community members can contribute through the yoursay website from today (15 February).