Qld AIDS Council gets official re-launch at Imaginations nightclub
The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) was officially re-launched at Imaginations nightclub in Spring Hill last night.
Formerly Healthy Communities (QAHC), the organisation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, voted to revert to its original title of Queensland AIDS Council last year.
QuAC executive director John Mikelsons thanked the guests, staff and board members in attendance – including state Labor MP Jackie Trad and Brisbane City councillor Vicki Howard – who were entertained by host Monica Fusions.
Mikelsons said restructuring of the organisation had been necessary to make sure it was financially sustainable.
“We also changed our name: after almost nine years as Healthy Communities we’ve started calling ourselves the Queensland AIDS Council again, to salute our past, to realign with our national network and to be sure everyone understood who we are.
“Today we start here strong, not because of our funding or names, or money, but because of you all and the supporters of this organisation.”
Mikelsons stressed the importance of community engagement: “Because we know that a peer-based response is the only one that works.”
Stressing QuAC’s commitment to diversity, Mikelsons said the last AGM voted to include Intersex Queenslanders in its constitution for the first time.
“We opened a Gender Clinic, in partnership with Dr Gale Bearman, ATSAQ [Australian Transgender Support Association Qld], Shelley Argent and PFLAG,” Mikelsons said.
“This clinic can’t possibly meet all the demand, but is really important to trans people and their families.
“Three fantastic lesbian women were elected to our board for this year, which means that today, one third of our board and 40 per cent of our staff are women.
“We know that if we can get guys tested, get them on treatment and get them to play safe we can finally put an end to transmission of the virus that galvanised our community 30 years ago,” Mikelsons said.
“All of these goals are within our grasp. As we relaunch ourselves for a new era, let’s keep what makes us so special – all of you and our community.”
Mikelsons thanked politicians from all sides of politics for their support, including state MPs Jackie Trad and Robert Cavalucci, Central Ward councillor Vicki Howard, federal MPs Terri Butler and Teresa Gambaro, Deagon councillor Victoria Newton, Senator Claire Moore – “and the Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, who unfortunately couldn’t make it tonight, but wishes us well.”
Former Healthy Communities president Mark Morein was presented with a lifetime achievement award.
IMAGE: QuAC exec dir John Mikelsons, Mark Morein, staff representative Ricki Menzies and vice-president Derek Cronin. Photo: A. Shaw
See more images from the night here.