Students attending state schools in Queensland may soon have free access to pads and tampons, following a $13.3 million investment in the upcoming State Budget.
Earlier this year, Queensland Premier Palaszczuk announced a trial partnership with the charity Share the Dignity, aiming to install vending machines with free sanitary products at Queensland’s state schools. Sixty-two schools were involved in the trial phase.
Now, all 120 state schools will have access to a “dignity vending machine”, supplied by north-Queensland-based charity, Share the Dignity.
Premier Palaszczuk said a lack of access to sanitary products should not interrupt a child’s learning.
“I am proud my government is providing funding to Share the Dignity, so they can roll vending machine to every single state school in Queensland that wants one,” she said.
“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.”
“All Queensland Year 5 to Year 8 students will continue to have access to the ‘Period Talk’ program, designed to educate about menstruation and the impact of periods.”
Palaszczuk’s announcement follows similar initiatives already in place across other states including Victoria and NSW.
Victoria became the first state or territory in Australia to provide free sanitary products to all students in state schools in late 2019.
In Term 3 of that year, products were distributed at each school, and by the end of Term 2 the following year, every school had dispensing machines providing these products.
Last year, South Australia announced free pads and tampons would be made available in every public school to ensure girls do not miss school because they could not access sanitary items.
“Unfortunately period poverty is such a prominent issue in South Australia,” she said.
“It’s so great to know that the Government can see that it’s an issue to be addressed and they’ve actually made the effort.It’s drastically life-changing for girls to have access to products, especially if they come from a position where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the products.”
In March this year, a $30 million program was announced by the NSW government to provide sanitary products in every school in the state.