One aim of the policy and research Living Positive Victoria undertakes is to advocate to governments the position of the organisation. By advocating to governments, we are providing an opportunity for the voice of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to be heard. Recent submissions to both state and federal government inquiries include:
- the Victorian Drug Law Reform Inquiry;
- the Inquiry into establishing a Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond; and
- a response to the Commonwealth Auditor General’s Report on qualifying for the Disability Support Pension.
Drug Law Reform
This inquiry is looking into laws and regulations that effectively reduce harm for people who use substances. The inquiry also wanted to hear about laws in other countries that have resulted in harm reduction. Living Positive Victoria supports the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use. The available evidence from Portugal shows that as a result of decriminalisation, overdose, HIV and Hep C, drug related crime and the number of drug users has declined since 2001. Living Positive Victoria also supports:
- inclusion of PLHIV in the Victorian Medicinal Cannabis Scheme;
- expansion of peer-distribution of clean injecting equipment; and
- increased availability of treatment and counselling programs that address the unique needs of PLHIV.
Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC)
LPV supports the proposal before the Victorian Parliament. More than 90 centres operate across the globe, including the centre in Sydney’s Kings Cross. These centres have been shown to be successful in reducing overdose, reducing blood-borne virus transmission, increase referrals to social and support services and reduce incidence of public injecting (public injecting is associated with a higher risk of HIV transmission).
Disability Support Pension (DSP)
Living Positive Victoria received concerns from members about DSP reviews. These concerns put significant stress upon those members and it was important for Living Positive Victoria to advocate our position that:
- PLHIV should be exempt from DSP reviews;
- If a review is to occur, communication from Centrelink needs to be improved; and
- Advocacy for systematic changes such as the implementation of a universal basic income that could reduce the complexities of the welfare system.