Around 11 in 100 Australians have a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission. The percentage of gay people in particular is estimated at around 3.4% of the population. Australia is a popular destination for LGBTQIA travelers, with cities like Sydney garnering many visits thanks to impressive large-scale events like the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. The ‘land down under’ is also a great choice for active travelers who seek the perfect balance between nature and cityscapes. The question is – is Australia a good choice for those wishing to relocate?
Marriage Equality Exists
It had been a long time coming but in December, 2017, same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia. A vast majority of Australians had been seeking change for years, and after a public opinion survey made their will patent, change finally came into effect. As stated by The New York Times’ Damien Cave, legalization should by all accounts have occurred sooner. Australia, he says, “could have gotten to this point faster if lawmakers and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had simply done their jobs and passed a bill reflecting what previous polls showed most Australians wanted.” Many people wishing to move abroad would never consider doing so to a country that did not provide legal recognition of the rights of all its citizens and residents. Therefore, legalization was a step in the right direction.
Healthcare is Free
The Australian government provides free hospital care and helps with costs of seeing doctors and specialists via a program called Medicare, which the government calls “the foundation of our health system.” Medicare covers three crucial things: medical services, public hospitals, and medicines. It is available to citizens, permanent residents, and people from countries with reciprocal agreements. Many Australians additionally choose to take out private health insurance to cover costs Medicare doesn’t. Moreover, Australians earning above a specific income who do not have an appropriate level of hospital cover as part of their private health insurance policy are required to pay a ‘medical levy surcharge’. The same goes for high earners who do not have private health insurance. For people wondering how much is the medicare levy surcharge for expats, it depends on what you earn, but ranges from 1% to 1.5%. To be required to pay the surcharge, you have to be earning above $90,000.
Gay Friendly Events and Locations
Not to be forgotten is the fun factor in Australia. Pew Research has found that almost 80% of Australians agree that homosexuality should be accepted, making it the fifth most tolerant country in the list. There are many iconic gay/gay-friendly restaurants, clubs, and bars, including Opera Bar in Sydney, Flower Drum Restaurant in Melbourne, and The Wickham in Brisbane. Some of the world’s most colorful Pride events take place in Australia as well – including Brisbane Pride in September and Adelaide’s Feast Festival in November. LGBTQIA entrepreneurs also abound, so look for ‘safe place stickers’ at your local businesses, which certify that these companies are actively engaged with the community.
Australia is a great place to visit and an even better one to choose as your next home. Nothing beats free health care and Australia is a healthy, fit nation that makes the most of life in the Great Outdoors. There’s plenty to do when Melbourne is experiencing the ‘four seasons in one day’ phenomenon, like visit a gay-friend restaurant, meet friends at your favorite club, or even do a little businesses with businesses that are on the right track in terms of diversity and acceptance.