2018 is the fifth year that Fair Play, an LGBTIQ community initiative to help partygoers understand their legal rights during the Mardi Gras season, will be helping Mardi Gras party-goers to party safely.

With increased numbers of revellers expected and lots of excitement for the 40th anniversary, Fair Play will have extra volunteers outside the Party (Saturday 3rd March), armed with referral information and video cameras, recording police interactions and booking free legal advice appointments for those who need them.

Fair Play was established in 2014 there have been no serious complaints about Police at the Parade after-party, and drug operations have been conducted without incident.

“Fair Play works so well because the Fair Play team work with NSW Police to come to an agreement about how we can best support the community at the Mardi Gras Party. Police need to do their job and enforce the law, and drug dogs are currently present at all large parties in Sydney. Fair Play aims to ensure that party-goers are respected by Police and in turn that anyone who has an incident on the night is supported to find a resolution,” says the Inner City Legal Centre’s Director Vicki Harding.

Look out for the bright tees (pictured above) on the night and at Fair Day. You can access up-to-date legal information about keeping safe, police powers, drug searches, sniffer dogs and complaint procedures on www.fair-play.org.au.

It is also important for international and interstate visitors to consider local laws before celebrating on the 3rd March. Inner City Legal Centre’s Principal Solicitor Hilary Kincaid reminds both international visitors and locals that “all prohibited drugs are equally prohibited, there is no ‘safe’ amount and there is no risk-free way to possess prohibited drugs.”

Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu says of the initiative: “We’re very happy to have Fair Play continue with the Festival again in 2018. Fair Play is an important initiative, designed to ensure members of our communities, as well as the thousands of visitors who come to Sydney for Mardi Gras each year, have the necessary information and support to ensure they have the best possible Mardi Gras experience.”

ACON CEO Nic Parkhill adds: “Fair Play provides ACON and our partner community organisations with a vital opportunity to educate the communities we serve on a range of issues on legal rights and responsibilities, to safety and wellbeing. I’d like to commend the NSW Police’s efforts in seeing that this program can operate successfully; resulting in a decline in the number of arrests during the period. This is a community-led response that seeks to keep party-goers informed and safe, and we’re proud to be a part of this great initiative.”

Fair Play is seeking volunteers for the 2018 Mardi Gras season. Applications to volunteer can be made via www.fair-play.org.au/volunteer/

For more information about Fair Play visit www.fair-play.org.au. Like and share Fair Play on Facebook at: facebook.com/yourfairplay

Fair Play is an initiative of the Inner City Legal Centre – NSW’s LGBTIQ legal centre – in partnership with ACON and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.