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Free period products available across the ACT as new bill passes | Women’s Agenda

ACT woman

As posted in Women’s Agenda 7 June, 2023.

In an Australian first, free period products will soon be available across the ACT as the Period Products and Facilities (Access) Bill is expected to pass today.

Introduced by Suzanne Orr MLA, this legislation in the ACT is a step towards ensuring period products are provided free-of-charge across the country.

“I am pleased that here in the ACT we are the first government to provide period products free of charge and ensure that crucial information on menstrual hygiene is available to the community,” said Orr.

“The ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass this nation leading reform, and I would encourage all other states and territories to be inspired by my bill so that no one who menstruates is ever in need.”

An exposure draft bill was first released in December 2021, followed by the bill being introduced to the Assembly in August 2022. Now, the bill is being debated, with the legislation expected to pass on 7th June 2023.

Orr said a key focus of the bill was to help address the stigma associated with periods in the ACT.

“Canberra is rich with different cultures, which can lead to varying views on menstruation with it often being a ‘taboo’ topic,” said Orr. “Access to menstruation hygiene is vital for the community due to these cultural differences and will be available in many languages.”

In addition to providing free period products, the ACT government will also ensure information on menstrual hygiene is publicly available.

“Periods are a normal bodily function, yet they are still heavily stigmatised in society, resulting in people being uncomfortable to talk about periods. Asking friends when you need a tampon or asking a boss for time off because of period pain, are common actions often associated with nervousness because of stigma,” said Orr.

“It shouldn’t be this way, no one should be ostracised because they do not have access to the products, facilities and understanding they need to respond to a normal bodily function.”

According to Share the Dignity’s Period Pride Report – ‘Bloody Big Survey’, 15 per cent of respondents in the ACT have been unable to afford period products at some point in their life.

An Australian charity, Share the Dignity has been campaigning and advocating for change in the menstrual equity space for 8 years, saying they’re “elated at the news”.

Founding and managing director of Share the Dignity, Rochelle Courtenay said: “After working tirelessly to end period poverty in Australia for the last 8 years, it is incredible to see this bill, the first of its kind in Australia, be passed in the ACT.”

“No one should have to make do with toilet paper, socks or newspaper for their period and this legislation will ensure women, girls and those who menstruate won’t have to. I hope to see more states and territories follow in the ACT’s footsteps so we can ensure menstrual equity for all menstruating Australians.”

by Brianna Boecker


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