Emergency management response and recovery plans in relation to sexual and gender minorities in NEW South Wales, Australia

06 December 2019

This paper undertakes a systematic critical review through a 'queer lens' of the emergency management response and recovery plans in New South Wales, Australia, in order to determine how the needs of sexual and gender minorities (LGBTI people) are considered and met. We also document the outsourcing by the NSW government of emergency response and recovery arrangements to third party, faith-based Christian institutions and explore how those institutions have been exempted from anti-discrimination protections under Commonwealth (Australian) and State (NSW) law. This enables us to explore the potential implications for LGBTI people in relation to the concepts of vulnerability and resilience. We find the needs of LGBTI people should in practice be met. However, due to anti-discrimination exemptions permitted by law to faith-based Christian institutions, LGBTI people are not being treated equally. We find a 'blindness to difference' in relation to the needs of LGBTI individuals and families. As such, we principally conclude that in NSW, Australia, the needs of LGBTI people in post-disaster response and recovery arrangements are inadequately addressed. We recommend further research at the intersection of religion, sexuality and disaster risk reduction to better understand the experiences and needs of LGBTI people (including those of faith) and how faith-based institutions might support LGBTI inclusive response and recovery.