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.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Aussie senator stands-by gay marriage leads to bestiality view

Liberal colleagues distance themselves from unapologetic senator after Cory Bernardi reaffirms his views in an interview
No thumbnail available

Jeremy Joseph: From club mogul to marathon man

We find out how Britain’s leading gay nightclub owner, Jeremy Joseph, hopes to raise a quarter million for Elton John AIDS Foundation with his London Marathon run
No thumbnail available

James Franco shares sexy photo of himself kissing 'the legendary' Zachary Quinto

Star is drumming up awareness of their movie I Am Michael to premiere at Sundance Film Festival
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Australia TV station defends airing anti-trans tweets

One viewer called transgender panelist Cate McGregor a 'he/she'
No thumbnail available

Newly out Joel Grey describes Neil Patrick Harris as "one of my heroes"

'He is just excellent at everything, and he is totally who he is'
India statistics include trans people for first time

India statistics include trans people for first time

Report finds 16 transgender people died of suicide last year, though activists say the real number is much higher
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Russia is trying to stop equal partner benefits for gay UN employees all around the world

Russia is furious that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ordered that all UN employees in legally recognized relationships should have equal partner benefits regardless of where they are working
No thumbnail available

Priest arrested in Cameroon for being gay

Claims he was blackmailed and forced to pay out 100,000 francs in order to keep his secrecy