THE Greater Shepparton City Council has voted at its March meeting last week to establish an LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee to act as a representative group to inform future council decision making in this area.
According to council, the aim of the Committee will be to formalise council relationships with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse (LGBTQIA+) community, as well as providing a clear avenue to engage and advocate to council on key issues that are identified by the LGBTQIA+ community.
While the establishment of the committee received unanimous support, a separate motion put forward by Cr Sam Spinks later in the meeting was defeated in a 4-5 vote.
Cr Spinks gave notice that she would move that council prepare a report to install a permanent ‘Rainbow Footpath’ at a public location, and use GSCC media platforms to acknowledge six separate annual LGBTQIA+ days of celebration, along with LGBT Pride Month in June.
“During my campaign I was asked if this kind of thing was really the business of council and I answered with a resounding yes,” Cr Spinks said to the council.
“I believe that part of council’s role is to show leadership in creating an inclusive, safe and accessible region.”
The motion was opposed by councillors Shane Sali, Greg James, Anthony Brophy, Kim O’Keeffe, and Geoff Dobson, on the basis that such a recommendation should come from the aforementioned Advisory Committee, not from an individual councillor.
“We need to encourage our community to get involved with committees, but by supporting this motion I believe we devalue the relevance of a committee, especially one which was just endorsed,” Cr Sali said.
“For those reasons I can’t support this motion.”
Cr Dobson said, “As much as I like the idea, the better way to go about it in my mind, Cr Spinks, is through the Advisory Committee, but I commend you on bringing it forward.”