Sydney Mardi Gras gets government funding for first time

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One of the world’s best-known gay events is being given state backing.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras generates more than $30m (£13.3m) for the city and state of New South Wales.

The amount of money the NSW government is to pump into the event is subject to a confidentiality agreement, but it is reported to be significant.

New Mardi Gras Chair David Imrie told gay publication SX:

“This is going to really enable us to grow Mardi Gras and the Parade, and ultimately lead to us producing an amazing arts and cultural festival through the entire season.

“[It’s] going to aid our sustainability, but more importantly, lead to greater growth.”

NSW Premier Nathan Rees told SX:

“Mardi Gras is one of Sydney’s best known and iconic events. It is a spectacular Sydney event and makes a significant contribution to our state’s economy. It’s become an international showcase of Sydney’s inclusiveness, creativity and diversity, and a celebration shared by the wider community.”

This year marked the 30th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

The first event was banned, and many of the participants were arrested.

Their names were published in the local paper, and many lost their jobs.

Homosexuality was not decriminalised in New South Wales until 1982.

Today it is the largest cultural event in Australia.