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Queensland government gags community groups.

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Queensland Health grant contracts now include clauses to prevent non-government organisations from advocating for state and federal legislative change, a measure that has been slammed by the Public Health Association of Australia.

Acting chief executive Melanie Walker said: "This inhibits not just government developing a better understanding of some of the concerns of service providers, but also those community service provision organisations being able to make the broader community aware of some of the problems they face in delivering those services."

Queensland Council of Social Service president Karyn Walsh told the Brisbane Times that the non-government sector would be disappointed with the conditions.

"The distinction between lobbying for legislation and policy advocacy is sometimes a fine line, but we believe it's important in a democracy that NGOs are allowed to advocate," she said.

The Queensland coalition government raised concerns about advocacy when it announced in May that it was stripping about $2.5 million from the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, which Queensland Health had previously funded to target HIV/AIDS prevention among gay men.

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Title Annotation:Public Health Association of Australia; Australia
Publication:The Lamp
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Oct 1, 2012
Words:177
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