There has been a big push for the removal of women’s essential sanitary products from the list of “luxury” items on the GST register.
The proposal to axe the tampon tax and feminine hygiene products was initially introduced by Greens senator Janet Rice. Health products like condoms, lubrication and Viagra controverssially do not attract the 10% tax as they are considered essential health products rather than ‘luxury’ items like tampons.
State Governments currently under Labor rule (Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, ACT) all stand in favour of removing the tax. But, Liberal State Governments (Tasmania, New South Wales, and South Australia) are opposing it. The bill may not pass the Lower House as the Coalition is said to likely block its passage.
Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm said, “The GST is established by federal law and can be readily amended by the federal parliament.”
“If this Bill is passed by the House, women can look forward to cheaper essential products that are currently collectively costing them an unnecessary $30 million every year.
“It is an insult to millions of women across Australia that such essential items are deemed luxuries while other products such as Viagra, condoms and lubricants are considered essential health items and declared GST free.”
Small businesses & Startups react to the ‘Tampon Tax’
Modibodi (online underwear company) Founder & CEO Kristy Chong:
“At Modibodi, we welcome the news that the Australian Government has finally recognised this unfair and unjust tax on our bodies and that The Greens Senator Janet Rice has included sustainable and reusable hygiene products such as Modibodi Period Underwear under this tax exemption. We are excited about the prospect of being able to offer our customers a GST free product,” she said.
“Our recent #axethetax campaign in partnership with other sustainable options gained the support of over 14,000 people which truly shows the support for a sustainable way of living”
Moxie (female sanitary goods company) Co-Founder and Director Mia Klitsas:
“It’s a progressive step in the right direction, but not progressive enough for my liking! I think the Liberal State Governments need to catch up,” she said.
“There’s the tangible aspect of reduced retail prices, which will certainly be welcomed, but beyond this there is also the well-overdue recognition that feminine hygiene products are in fact a necessity for women and so should be treated accordingly.
“This is a social issue and I don’t believe that any gender should render themselves void of responsibility or action simply because it doesn’t directly affect them. We all have the power to influence and ignite change and so we’re relying on both women AND men to make a stand here – particularly when there are so many men in parliament/government positions of authority.”
Flora and Fauna (online eco-friendly beauty retailer) Founder Julie Mathers:
“Sanitary products are currently considered as a luxury and taxed accordingly. Any woman will tell you they are far from a luxury. When condoms and lubricants are exempt from tax I do not understand how tampons and sanitary pads aren’t,” she said.
“This bill also needs to extend to reusable sanitary products. One of the key things we can do is use menstrual cups and reusable pads so we need to be encouraging women to use these for the sake of the planet and the waste we produce.
“These currently aren’t included in the proposed bill and need to be. We see a huge number of women, particularly young women adopting menstrual cups, in particular, and favouring these to tampons so the bill needs to go further to have real impact.”