Victorian government support to amplify LGBTI voices in central Victoria

MEMBERS of the LGBTI community are being called upon by all levels of government to inform policies.

Central Victorians will be well positioned to make their voices heard, with a local partnership set to receive the largest share of the Victorian government’s support to develop LGBTI advocacy and leadership.

Friends Alike Bendigo and Central Victoria and Community Leadership Loddon Murray will receive $80,000 from the LGBTI Community Grants Program.

Minister for Equality, Martin Foley this evening announced the partnership as one of 18 recipients to share in the $700,000 funding pool.

FAB CV member Harry McAnulty said the grant would explore the needs and interests of LGBTI communities in relation to representation, social connectedness, advocacy and policy.

“We will be working very closely with our partners Community Leadership Loddon Murray to ensure our community has access to the resources to build its capacity and ensure sustainable LGBTI-led groups and organisations,” Mr McAnulty said.

The funding represents a milestone in the growth of FAB CV, which was founded in 2003 to run social events and nurture a sense of connection and belonging for LGBTI community members.

“Increasingly government, community and business stakeholders look to FAB CV for direction in engaging with, including and providing services to our local LGBTI community however our group wasn’t set up to perform those roles,” Mr McAnulty said.

CLLM executive officer Leah Sertori said the grant was, in part, recognition that groups like FAB CV were being asked to play a much bigger role than they had initially envisaged.

She said the discussions taking place in the community last year, in the midst of the marriage equality postal vote, highlighted the need for an advocacy and policy-focused body representing LGBTI people in central Victoria.

“Bendigo Says Yes did play a really important role,” Ms Sertori said. 

“FAB CV can play a really important role there.”

She said the partnership would build FAB CV’s capabilities by developing strategies, branding, leadership, partnerships and performance monitoring.

“CLLM has partnered with FAB CV to deliver an annual community leadership program, to support the growth and sustainability of FAB CV’s advocacy and leadership,” Ms Sertori said.

Four of the 20 places will be offered to LGBTI community groups in rural areas.

Two of those places are reserved for members of the Northern Central Regional LGBTI Network, which is led by Justin Di Caprio.

“It is vitally important that LGBTI community members in rural communities have access to programs like this to support up-and-coming LGBTI leaders,” Mr Di Caprio said.

Other recipients of the state government funding include Australian X and Y Spectrum Support, Alphabet Soup and Transgender Victoria.

“These grants play an important role in improving the lives of LGBTI Victorians, and strengthening the voice of local organisations,” Mr Foley said.