Free sanitary products in all government schools

By Alex Gretgrix

FREE pads and tampons will be available in every government school in Victoria — reducing the discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls and saving families hundreds of dollars every year.

Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure all students attending government schools have access to free pads and tampons, with the initiative now in Victoria’s more than 1500 government schools.

“This is a valuable and sensitive initiative on a number of levels for many young women, here in Echuca-Moama and across Victoria,” state Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said.

The $20.7 million initiative helps students feel more comfortable managing their periods by providing discreet and easy access to products when they need them.

State Education Minister James Merlino said this was a step in the right direction.

“We’re proud to be providing free sanitary items in all Victorian government schools to ensure that students — regardless of their background or circumstances — can focus and participate fully in their education,” he said.

Pads and tampons will be available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education.

The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive and will ease the cost of living on families while helping students focus on their studies.

Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities.

Mr Walsh said for the students to have easy and discreet access to hygiene products within their schools was a significant advantage for what is a routine necessity.

“It helps remove any potential personal concerns, letting these students better focus on their education and ongoing development,” he added.

As part of this initiative, students also receive important health information about how to manage their periods.