Page 2421 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022

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While some of this information is already, and will continue to be, available through formal education, for those who might not have been educated in Australia or
need different or additional information, it is particularly important that they have access to it.

Part 4 of this bill outlines requirements around the provision of publicly accessible information about menstruation. This information must be available in the community, including publishing it on an ACT government website. The director-general must take reasonable steps to make sure this information is published in languages other than English, and specifically for people who might be at risk of period poverty in the ACT, and ensuring that there is also age-appropriate information available.

Part 5, which is the final part of the bill, sets out a statement about the operation of the act and must be included in each administering directorate’s annual report. This statement must also include information about any reports made regarding a lack of access to facilities reported by ACT public service employees, as per section 17 of the act. A standard review period of three years has been included in this part of the act, including requiring a report for presentation to the Assembly. Finally, the bill gives regulation-making power for the act to the executive.

While it is important to provide colleagues with a run-through of the bill that is being presented to this place, it is also important to examine the impact that this bill will have within our community. Period poverty can present real and devastating problems for those experiencing it. Those who do not have access to period products are often left to improvise in any way that they can. This can involve using household items like newspaper, paper towel or toilet paper, for example, instead of sanitary pads.

This can lead to infection through contaminants on those improvised items or leaking and other accidents due to those items not being fit for purpose. There can be cases where period products are used for too long—generally, for more than four hours—due to a lack of access to fresh product. Again this can lead to infection and health implications. This is particularly a problem with tampons. Infections like this can cause long-term discomfort and health issues, including sepsis, which can be fatal if left untreated.

A lack of access to period products can also impact a person’s social life, education and work life. If you are having issues with managing your period due to product access problems, you are more likely to miss social events, school, university or other classes, and even need to take time off work. As I noted earlier, a lack of education or information about period management can have similar effects. Within our society there is still a large amount of stigma about a process that around half of us experience every month for most of our adult lives.

In some segments of the community, cultural influences mean that this taboo and stigma are greatly heightened. This can lead to isolation, a lack of confidence, improvisation of period management and the subsequent social, professional and educational impacts that I have already mentioned.

Periods happen no matter where you might be. They happen at home, at school and while you are out or at work. Having the facilities to manage your period at those

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