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The Queensland government will be providing free female sanitary products across every state school as part of a new $13.3 million (£7.6 million) initiative for Aussie students.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said revealed the Sunshine State has been trailing the sanitary product vending machines at some Queensland schools thanks to charity Sharing the Dignity.
The new vending machines will now be rolled out in 276 high schools across the state from July.
The Queensland Premier told 9 News that the new move would help young women access such products, particularly those from low socio-economic backgrounds, amid a cost of living crisis.
Access to free period products can make a real difference to children, especially students whose families are doing it tough, have unstable accommodation or are fleeing domestic and family violence. https://t.co/6QRBDvRWNH pic.twitter.com/2bXDTups1c— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) June 6, 2022
"Access to period products and misplaced stigma around periods should never be issues students face at school," the Premier told reporters.
"We know providing access to free period products can make a real difference, especially for students whose families are doing it tough, have unstable accommodation or are fleeing domestic and family violence."
All state schools will be able to apply for the vending machines, which will provide young women with a period pack containing six tampons and two sanitary packs.
CEO of girls’ equality charity Plan International Australia, Susanne Legena welcomed the announcement as it provides means to educate women about periods while making it less of a taboo, according to SBS News.
She said: “From a gender equality point of view, it's actually really important that all children and young people get access to really good information about periods, about period poverty, about what happens to your body, and also then have access to facilities they need and the products they need.
"That's partly why we welcome this decision by the Queensland government to make products free in public schools.”
Queensland is the latest state to offer free tampons and pads across government high schools, as Victoria made sanitary products for young women free in schools from 2020.
Minister for Women at the time Gabrielle Williams said via a media release that the milestone would allow high students to have access to these products, helping them focus instead on their ‘studies’.
Following Victoria’s move, in 2021, South Australia announced they would spend $450,000 (€304,240) over the next three years to fund female sanitary products for young women.
Earlier this year, in March, the NSW government also announced a $30 million (€20,282,701) package to provide tampons and sanitary pads across every public school.