Victorian Premier Dan Andrews says the state will cop free period products in a bunch of public places if Labor is re-elected. I’m listening.
Given how bloody expensive pads and tampons can be I’d love to see this introduced everywhere. Let’s go, Premiers of the nation.
“If we’re re-elected, we’ll invest $23 million over four years to put 1500 dispensing machines into 700 different public [locations],” Andrews said, per 9News.
“Hospitals, train stations, libraries and other big cultural institutions like the museum of Victoria, the State Library, but also community libraries.”
Andrews said the move would ensure people can “access what they need”.
This will be an Australian first.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) November 11, 2022
It's a small thing – but it'll make a huge difference. pic.twitter.com/ctPcKMg5EZ
If the policy goes ahead, Victoria would be the first state in Australia to have such a comprehensive free period product program. The ACT has also looked at introducing free period products to help reduce period poverty.
In a statement, Dan Andrews said: “Pads and tampons aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity — and women should be able to get them wherever they are”.
Andrews spoke about the stigma around periods for “women and girls”, but it’s also important to ensure trans, gender diverse and non-binary people have easy, free access to period products too.
The proposed move follows a couple of big changes around the country regarding period poverty and product accessibility.
Victoria was the first state to offer free period products in public schools.
“Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact students’ participation in sports and everyday school activities,” the state government said.
“Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether.”
WA will be the last state to implement this sort of program. It will introduce free products in schools from first term 2023.
Earlier this year, NSW Health said health services across the state would have to provide period products for those in need too.
So the good news is pads and tampons are slowly becoming more accessible for people who need them. But there’s no doubt more state-wide initiatives would help combat period poverty.
In case ya missed it — or just need a wee reminder — the Victorian election will be taking place very, very soon on Saturday November 26. See ya there!