NSW parliamentary inquiry clears way for Equality Bill

3 June 2024 - LGBTIQ+ organisations have welcomed the findings of a parliamentary inquiry that has cleared the way for NSW Parliament to consider the LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill, saying it’s time all people and families are treated equally.  

The Committee on Community Services published its report on Monday, following two days of hearings and 66 written submissions. 

“Our communities and their families live with some of the nation’s most outdated and discriminatory laws and it’s time for NSW to catch-up with the rest of Australia on these long overdue reforms,” said Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown. 

The report, which recommended the bill proceed for consideration by the Parliament of NSW, also found there was a need for additional policy measures and funding to improve the safety and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people, including addressing issues like disadvantage, discrimination and poorer health outcomes. 

“Historic laws banning conversion practices were recently passed in NSW in the first major reform for our community in almost a decade. Now we need to ensure our laws change so that all people and families are equal in NSW,” Ms Brown said.  

The Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023 will provide equality by amending 20 different laws including closing the carve-outs that allow religious schools and organisations to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, recognition for more rainbow families and ensuring trans people can access birth certificates without cruel and unnecessary barriers. NSW is the last place in Australia to require trans people to have surgery on their reproductive organs in order to access ID documents that recognise them for who they are.  

In April 80 organisations signed a letter to NSW Premier Chris Minns calling on him to support the Equality Bill including the Australian Services Union, NCOSS, Women’s Health NSW, Women’s Electoral Lobby, Pitt Street Uniting Church, the Black Dog Institute and Rainbow Families.  

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill AO: 

“ACON recommends that the NSW Parliament passes the Equality Bill in full. The Bill provides the necessary legislative framework, and protective factors, that will help ensure the health and wellbeing of sexuality and gender diverse people in New South Wales. 

“We look forward to seeing the Equality Bill proceed through Parliament. The reforms it contains follow best practice in other Australian jurisdictions and are an unprecedented opportunity to create a more inclusive, respectful, and safe society for our communities to live.” 

Twenty10 CEO Jain Moralee: 

“We know from both evidence and testimony given throughout this inquiry that young LGBTIQA+ people, and those that support them, experience unnecessary harm and distress due to some of our outdated laws and legislation. 

“We hope the NSW Government can see that by supporting the Equality Bill, education, social services and healthcare settings can be safer and accessible spaces for everyone and young LGBTIQA+ people of NSW can thrive and live long, happy and healthy lives.” 

Media contact: Mike Hitch, mike.hitch@equalityaustralia.org.au, 0426 812 115