In a move to ensure equality, the Victorian Government has announced the setting up of Australia’s first Pride Centre at Melbourne at a cost of $15 million. More details will be announced in next week’s state budget.

If the claims of the Victorian government are to be believed, then this would be bigger than San Francisco’s LGBTI Community Centre.

Taking credit for Australia’s first of its kind Pride Centre, Equality Minister Martin Foley said the centre was “long overdue.” According to Foley, the centre will showcase art and history related to LGBTI and also offer health and advisory services, reports the ABC.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community groups welcomed the announcement.

Hinting of a massive expansion of the centre, Foley said the centre would be further developed in partnership with the LGBTI community and the private sector. He said the idea is to make Melbourne an international hub of LGBTI support. The Pride Centre announcement assumes significance as it comes ahead of the Parliament’s historic apology to the LGBTI community on May 24 for the unjust persecution of homosexual acts.

The minister said more announcements on services for the gay community can be expected in the budget. “We want to make sure LGBTI people are proud and that the rest of the Victorian community supports them in their demands and battles to make sure that they are treated fairly, equally and that every Victorian has the right to be who they are,” he said.

On this note, Premier Daniel Andrews said equality is “not negotiable in Victoria.” He said Victoria’s LGBTI community has a lot to be proud of and he congratulated all for making Australia’s first Pride Centre a reality. “We’re confident we can make this a centre that will make Melbourne and Victoria an internationally recognised cultural centre for LGBTI pride,” Andrews added.

Volunteer group Rainbow Families hailed Premier Daniel Andrews, Martin Foley, and Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Rowena Allen for the “historic announcement,” reports Junkee.