There is little doubt that Victoria’s 79 Councils want to be an inclusive and healthy workplace, legislation makes sure of that and has for many years. We have anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace safety laws to ensure just this.
Since the 2020 elections, we have seen a huge push into LGBTQI+ activism driven by a small minority of activist-councillors and rarely challenged by the rest of the establishment. This may appear noble and inclusive, but as always there is an agenda and a cost.
During the elections, the Pride lobby asked candidates to pledge to progress an LGBTQI+ advisory committee and pursue rainbow tick accreditation of Councils services.
But let’s look at what the cost of these actually are:
1. LGBTQI+ rainbow tick accreditation – this costs about $200,000 per Council
2. LGBTQI+ inclusion training – Provided at a cost of $1,500-3,000 per workshop
3. LGBTQI+ Advisory Committees – this involves selecting locals and staff for a regular panel – we estimate about $25,000 of councils’ resources would be used by this
Let’s run some numbers on that as a state-wide hypothetical.
· 79 Councils – $200,000 each for Rainbow tick accreditation = $15.8 Million
· 54,000 staff – 540 workshops for 100 staff at $1,500 minimum = $810,0000
· 79 Councils - $25,000 each for Advisory Committees = $1.975 Million
That is a potential spend in Councils of over $18 million.
Of course, the spending is hypothetical and it will take time for all Councils to do this, but rest assured they are all being placed under enormous pressure to do this, by a lobbying group that is fastidious in getting its way. In Victoria, the Pride centre secured about $50 Million worth of land and funding from Port Phillip Council and the State Government.
This is BIG BUSINESS.
What is driving this is a fundamental base belief that somehow Councils are not actually inclusive and LGBTQI+ friendly and perhaps that somehow Council needs to provide services to LGBTQI+ people in a more inclusive manner.
As an openly gay man, I have dealt with a lot of Councils, the staff, and Councillors – Victoria-wide.
NEVER once have I ever been demeaned or ridiculed for my sexuality, never once have I felt the level of service provided to me is any different, and never once have I felt the need to identify my sexuality and share it like a badge of honour to connect with staff. Disclosure – I am probably just as unhappy with the poor service Councils give as most of the population, and it has nothing to do with who I sleep with. Further, in the thousands of complaints we deal with, our volunteers have never had a complaint about any council treating a resident poorly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
(Yet I know people who are hearing impaired that Council has ignored for decades)
Political correctness is becoming BIG business these days, with an LGBTQI+ industry that could gain tens of millions from councils to help them be more inclusive and a climate change lobby already securing tens of millions in funding for carbon credits from other countries and spending on buying more expensive renewable power only. The squeeze on council budgets has never been more real. We hear councils bemoan they can’t raise enough revenue – but only a few years ago these items were not even in a council’s budget, now they take pride of place (pardon the pun)
So why aren’t CEOs and Councillors pushing back? Some Councillors have and have been labelled homophobic and been given threats of harm, how inclusive.
In politics and councils, the photo opportunities to “appear to do good” are too enticing to resist. They make CEOs more employable and Councillors more electable, regardless of whether they actually make any improved benefits to the community. Photo opportunities for Councillors and CEOs that ultimately cost millions of ratepayers’ money.
There are NO business cases for any of this spend – just rhetoric and feel-good motherhood statements. These days it seems anyone can create a lobbying business and activist model that can usurp tens of millions of ratepayers’ money from council coffers.
We are in a time when truth easily gets lost in virtue signalling and tokenism.
The attached picture is the intro to a recent Council job ad – the wording proves my point, Councils have become infected by an all-inclusive, feel-good, rhetoric that would make a communist country’s propaganda machine envious.
I for one am sick of this. Council's service standards are falling, and they are cutting service delivery – aged care support services are being abandoned by the truckload and many vulnerable residents are out in the cold.
It’s time someone took a broom to councils and literally stopped this madness.
After all, it’s our money they’re abusing whilst neglecting those who need support, imagine what $18 million could do for aged services and in-home support.
This isn’t at all about inclusiveness, it’s about money. Our money. Money that should be better spent on the potholes in our roads, the cracked footpaths, the blocked drains, and the quality of councils’ services. Apparently, those photo opportunities are too dull and boring for mayors, councillors, and CEOs.
We are being had, and only we can stop it.
It’s why I refuse to support this tokenistic approach and also refuse to use pronouns in my email signature.