Queensland cuts funding to state’s only LGBT health agency

Health minister says ‘I refuse to throw good money after bad’

Queensland cuts funding to state’s only LGBT health agency
21 May 2012

The only LGBT health agency in the Australian state of Queensland is ‘putting out an international distress call’ following the news that the state’s new LNP (conservative) government is cutting its funding.

Health minister Lawrence Springborg said the cut in funds was in response to an increase in HIV prevalence in the state and what he said was a failure in public health policy.

‘I refuse to throw good money after bad and I refuse to turn a blind eye to what are obviously ineffective campaigns at reducing HIV diagnosis rates,’ Springborg said, reported in the Courier Mail.

Queensland HIV diagnosis rates doubled from 2.7 per 100,000 people in 2000, to 5.4 in 2010.

Springborg intends to redirect the $2.5million (Australian dollars, $2.46million,€1.92million) that had been channelled through Queensland Association for Healthier Communities (QAHC) to set up a ministerial advisory committee ‘made up of people who are well connected to all the communities at risk in Queensland focused on AIDS awareness and prevention,’ he said to 612 ABC Brisbane radio.

Paul Martin, executive director of QAHC said they are exclusively funded to improve LGBT health in a range of areas, including HIV, and ‘It’s not appropriate for us to be held accountable for the whole HIV response.’

The Courier Mail reports that HIV among heterosexual people in Queensland is rising and blames ‘drunken lads’ holidays in Thailand and Indonesia, involving unprotected sex with prostitutes’. This is the view of the head of the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association, Richard Kidd, who said an increase in population in the state was another contributor to the rise.

‘Queensland started from a place where the number of people in our state per 100,000 was significantly less than just about any other state in Australia and all that’s happening is at one level, we’re starting to come up to the national average,’ said Dr Kidd.

Dr Kidd also said he agreed with the government’s change of approach to HIV prevention funding. ‘If we are going to keep doing what we have done then we are just going to get the same result which at the moment isn’t good enough,’ he said.

Spokesperson for Queensland Greens, Andrew Bartlett, called the redirection of funding irresponsible. ‘It is highly irresponsible to take such a major step, which will cause significant disruption to HIV prevention services, before properly assessing what better alternative, if any, there might be,’ he said.



No thumbnail available

Gay Republican kills himself over Obama victory

A tanning salon owner from Key West, Florida, left suicide note cursing the re-election of US President Barack Obama
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

New Zealand ‘Gay baby Jesus’ church billboard auctioned off for $860

A church billboard in New Zealand that was the subject of official complaints has been auctioned off online but Auckland’s St Matthew-in-the-City has promised it won’t be its last controversial one
No thumbnail available

Working with Gay Star News

Come work for a global LGBTI news platform!
No thumbnail available

The world's 6 gyms you need to work out in

GSN discovers six gyms around the world offering gay travelers a different kind of cultural experience
No thumbnail available

Gay teen who feared being kicked out of Boy Scouts cheers change in policy

Pascal Tessier: 'For gay Scouts like me, this vote is life-changing'
No thumbnail available

Boystown author reveals his favorite Chicago rides, bites and sights

Jake Biondi’s Boystown books, a Queer As Folk-type series set in Chicago, explore living on the down-low, awful ex-boyfriends, coming out issues and more, all with a Windy City flavor
No thumbnail available

Swedish cop challenges reveler to dance off at Stockholm Pride

Watch a video in which a Swedish Police officer busts his move with a participant in the 2014 Stockholm Pride Parade
No thumbnail available

UK ambassador to Chile in Argentina gay slur shame

British Ambassador Jon Benjamin apologizes for tweeting 'by mistake' that all men in Argentina are gay
No thumbnail available

Brooklyn Nets to sign Jason Collins for rest of the season

After coming out and not being able to sign to a team, gay basketball star proves he still has the skills to win