With a state election due in Victoria in November 2018, with the issues of law and order and transport infrastructure being front and centre in most voters minds, the Andrews Labor Government is still obsessed with pandering to minority groups, which includes giving away vast sums of taxpayers’ money.
The Andrews Government’s Minister for Equality Martin Foley last week announced the latest round of Victorian LGBTI Grants worth a total of $700,000 going to 18 LGBT community organisations in Victoria. The grants program was introduced in 2016-17 and was allocated $4 million over four years. The stated aims of the program are to improve the organisational development of LGBT groups to Victoria and to foster the development of the next generation of LGBT community leaders.
Groups that have benefited from these grants include the Human Rights Law Centre which received $40,000 in 2017-18, this is an organisation which spends a lot of its time demonizing the federal government’s policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers and complaining to the United Nations about our alleged human rights abuses.
Transgender groups have also had a windfall from these programs with Transgender Victoria receiving $35,956 in 2017-18 and another transgender group Alphabet Soup received $60,201 in 2017-18. LGBT Sporting Organisations have also received special attention with the Pride Cup receiving $31,900 and Proud 2 Play receiving $19,949. There is also a whole suite of regional and ethnic LGBT groups which have received grants.
Even LGBT lobby groups in the past have received government funds (which in turn lobby government for more laws/funds) including the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Minus18 which helped develop the Safe Schools program and Living Positive Victoria which is described as an HIV organisation but whose main focus is on LGBT people. Gay pride festivals Midsumma and ChillOut which encompass sexualised content have also received grants.
Most would not consider the existence of this grants program to be an essential function of government, in fact, many Victorians would not believe these are appropriate groups to fund at all. The Andrews’ Government over its time in government has also spent $15 million on an LGBT Pride Centre and $300,000 on a gay gaming app to fight homophobia.
Certainly, if state governments cut funding to grants programs such as these, along with those of the arts and multicultural organisations, they might have a bit more money to build some desperately needed infrastructure. Grants programs such as these certainly deserve more scrutiny from the media and public.