MEMBERS of the Wimmera Pride Project have expressed their "deep concerns" about health access under the proposed religious discrimination bill with the Member for Mallee.
The LGBTIQ committee met briefly with Anne Webster in Horsham on Wednesday to review the changes in the federal government's redrafted religious freedom legislation.
A spokesman from the Wimmera Pride Project said in a statement they did not support the bill in its second draft and believed there was more work to be done.
The Pride Project is a Horsham-based support group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer identifying people.
The spokesman said that they found the conversation with Dr Webster polite and respectful.
"She indicated her support for this reform, but also responded that she did not support weakening protections from other discrimination bills," he said.
The spokesman said the committee expressed concerns about the change to allow health care providers to object to providing particular procedures instead of being able to object to providing services to a particular person.
"There is no difference in a doctor saying they refuse to treat a transgender person to saying they will not support prescribing hormone replacement," he said.
"For a transgender person this rejection by what could be the only doctor in town may mean driving hundreds of kilometres to find a doctor that is willing to care for them.
"For some that rejection at such a vulnerable stage could lead to much darker outcomes."
The spokesman said Dr Webster acknowledged she had not yet discussed the bill with health providers in the region but said she would speak with them and seek out their position on the bill.
"We hope that they are able to speak freely without retribution and any concerns are shared with her colleagues in Canberra," he said.
The spokesman said Dr Webster expressed supported for the reform to remove the exemption in the sex-discrimination act that allowed religious schools to exclude students on the basis of sexual and gender identity.
"Another government MP present at the meeting indicated this reform is still underway," he said.
"While we as a committee have very little trust that this government will deliver on that promise or that it is a priority for them, we welcome Dr Webster's support for the reform."
Dr Webster was contacted for comment but did not respond by deadline.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter released the second exposure draft of the bill on Tuesday in response to consultation with religious organisations and other stakeholders.
The previous round of consultation saw members of the Australian community lodge almost 6,000 written submissions. Attorney-General Christian Porter has also met personally with close to 100 stakeholder groups to hear their views first-hand.
People are able to make submissions on the redrafted religious freedom bill by emailing FoRConsultation@ag.gov.au until Friday January 31.
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