Page 194 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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here in the ACT have experience. Late last year I spoke in this place about period poverty, both defining the term and describing its pervasive stigmatic nature. I also encouraged members in this place to consider not only following Scotland’s lead in legislating free access to period products but also good hygiene facilities and relevant educational resources.

In December 2021 I released an exposure draft for my Period Products (Access) Bill which will, in fact, set in place requirements for the ACT government to provide period products free of charge at designated and accessible places across the ACT and make information on menstrual hygiene freely available. Through the initial public consultation, I cannot understate the level of engagement with and positive response to the draft bill by the community. I am going to quote a few of the comments on the draft, posted to my Facebook page by Canberrans, which I am particularly encouraged by. Mohammed said:

This is a unique idea … I fully support it. These products are in high demand and charities in the ACT including Helping ACT donate it but as the products are quite expensive it is challenging to cater for them. It will be an ACT first legislation if passed. Great to know. Very humane. Looking forward to your update.

Jenny-Ray said:

Heck yes!!! I know some other countries have made period products free … and I always wished we could follow their lead.

Edwina said:

Thanks for pushing this bill so hard. You’ve brought periods to the forefront of my mind. The other day I was ordering myself a menstrual cup and was asked if I wanted to donate to period poverty. I would have previously not donated but your bill reminded me of the need for this. You forget or ignore how much of a burden periods are because we’re encouraged not to talk or think about them. I actually like talking and hearing about periods!

Finally, Lea said:

Fantastic idea ... people shouldn’t have to go without food or their bills to buy period products.

In addition to these, my office has received some very insightful emails from compassionate residents across Yerrabi and the ACT which I would also like to share. One resident wrote to say:

Your Bill, to make products freely available and access to hygiene disposable and washing facility is human and progressive, a wonderful initiative.

Another said:

I’m so glad to hear about your Period Poverty initiative, it’s such a great idea! I [am a teacher] … and over the last few years our students have made significant

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