A reference group will be formed with health sector and community representatives focused on strengthening inclusion of Border LGBTIQ people, following consultations with Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Ro Allen.
Wodonga was number 13 of 20 towns scheduled for workshops with the commissioner as part of a statewide regional roadshow.
Ms Allen also helped launch Gateway Health’s Gender Service, the first in regional Australia, as part of her visit.
“There’s so much going on right across Victoria, but Wodonga is hitting above its weight,” she said.
“What’s coming out is how committed the agencies are working together and for me, it’s a good reminder of the border issues.
“When towns actually commit to a a working group, that’s when things really hit the road.”
A commitment to establish this group was part of a range of goals identified in the workshop on Friday.
Junction Support Services client services manager Janine Lawler, who put her hand up to lead the group, believed inter-agency work on the issue had so far been limited and could be improved.
“There’s pockets of it – I think establishing a network like this will allow us to reach out to other services that aren’t already involved and collaborate for the benefit of the community,” she said.
“What I intend to do is contact people who were at this forum to gauge their interest in becoming part of the group and get those people together to start developing a terms of reference and how we’re going to move forward.”
At the workshops, there were representatives from Albury Wodonga Health, headspace, Hume Phoenix, and members of the Border LGBTIQ community.
Albury Deputy Mayor Amanda Cohn was also involved and initiated conversations about the benefits of a committee.
Murray Primary Health Network Murray North East regional manager Richard McClelland said there were two facets to the meeting – identifying issues such as marginalisation and barriers to services, and opportunities for change.
“A reference group gives a collective space allowing for flow of information from the representatives of both the community and the agencies to places like council, where they can make change,” he said.
“It also offers an opportunity to have a bit of self-reflection about where your organisation is at and look at embedding inclusion strategies.”