City cuts cash to Pride Fes­ti­val

Guardian Express - - FRONT PAGE - By JU­LIAN WRIGHT

THE City of Perth has re­duced its fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to this year’s Pride Fes­ti­val in the leadup to the na­tional same-sex mar­riage sur­vey.

At the August 29 meet­ing, coun­cil­lors passed a cash spon­sor­ship of $50,000 to the fes­ti­val, down by $5000 from its 2016 con­tri­bu­tion.

The move comes four days after the City of Vin­cent raised a rain­bow flag in sup­port of the LGBTQI com­mu­nity and two days after the State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced $60,000 to two West Perth or­gan­i­sa­tions to boost men­tal health sup­port for the same group. Pride WA ap­plied for $75,000. The City’s to­tal con­tri­bu­tion to the fes­ti­val since 2012 is $287,700, with 2016’s $55,000 its largest annual con­tri­bu­tion to date. A Pride WA spokes­woman said the com­mit­tee was nat­u­rally dis­ap­pointed to re­ceive less fund­ing.

“Pride WA un­der­stands the eco­nomic cli­mate that all of our cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment part­ners are op­er­at­ing in,” she said.

The spokes­woman said Pride WA strongly en­cour­aged gov­ern­ment and com­mu­nity sup­port to vote ‘yes’ to same sex mar­riage.

“This will be ref­er­enced in a num­ber of our com­mu­ni­ca­tions,” she said.

In ex­change for its spon­sor­ship, the City of Perth crest will be fea­tured on the Pride WA web­site, print ad­ver­tis­ing, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing me­dia re­leases and event signs.

A City spokes­woman at­trib­uted less cash to a “con­strained eco­nomic cli­mate”.

“Due to bud­getary considerations, spon­sor­ship amounts were re­duced for the ma­jor­ity of ap­pli­ca­tions,” she said.

The spokes­woman said there was no con­cern of com­mu­nity back­lash over the re­duced fig­ure co­in­cid­ing with the sur­vey.

“PrideFEST has been held in the City of Perth for 24 years, and the City has in­vested $724,737 to sup­port the event since 1999,” she said.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaf­fidi took to Face­book to express her sup­port for the LGBTQI com­mu­nity in the lead up to the “cringe­wor­thy” sur­vey.

“I do feel sad this is­sue has come to a postal vote,” she wrote.

“Why? Of course firstly - the ridicu­lous ex­pense, but more be­cause it re­ally af­fects Brand Aus­tralia in my view and em­bar­rasses me /us in­ter­na­tion­ally

to be bru­tally frank. It's the type of thing that could be­come a skit on Satur­day Night Live.”

Ms Scaf­fidi con­firmed she would vote ‘yes’ in the sur­vey.

“The LGBTQ com­mu­nity have been through so much hav­ing to de­clare their sex­ual pref­er­ences pub­licly for starters would be dif­fi­cult for most,” she wrote.

“Not be­cause they are dif­fer­ent, but be­cause of their hon­esty and a deeper de­sire to be ac­cepted and live a true and more mean­ing­ful life.

“Such brav­ery and some­times such judg­ment and sadly of­ten ridicule can fol­low. It's not un­like apartheid to me, which was seg­re­ga­tion on race.”

The fes­ti­val runs from Oc­to­ber 27 to Novem­ber 26.

An Aus­tralian Mar­riage Law Sur­vey Form will be sent by post through­out a two week pe­riod from September 12 and should be com­pleted and re­turned by 6pm on Oc­to­ber 27. Re­sults will be re­leased on Novem­ber 15.

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