After almost two decades of fiery debate, Australia has finally relinquished the 10% tax on menstrual hygiene products.
Treasurers from across all Australian states and territories voted unanimously this week to pass the federal government's proposal and terminate the $30 million-a-year tax on sanitary products from the GST by Jan. 1, 2019.
The decision marks a historic win for women's rights, with many feminist groups having long campaigned for tampons, pads, maternity pads, and menstrual cups to be exempt from the GST due to the fact that they are essential items instead of luxury products. These menstrual hygiene products will now sit alongside tax-free items like condoms, lubricants, toothpaste, and Viagra.
Great that the states and territories have joined with the Commonwealth in scrapping the unfair GST on feminine hygiene products. Good news for millions of Australian women #auspol— Kelly O'Dwyer (@KellyODwyer) October 3, 2018
Federal Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer announced that prolonged endeavours to remove the 10% tax, one of the highest taxes on menstrual products in the world, have been “tortured”.
"We're really delighted that everyone's come on board to scrap what is an unfair tax," O’Dwyer announced. "Millions of women right across the nation will be very thankful for it.”
We're getting on with the job of removing the GST on feminine hygiene products.— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) October 8, 2018
Consultation starts today on a proposed definition to confirm the items which will be GST exempt.
Have your say here: https://t.co/pbT8ShPz5A@KellyODwyer@GregHuntMPpic.twitter.com/jswT8Qn5Ms
The federal government’s proposal was spearheaded by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who claimed after the vote that the agreement was "good news for women across Australia".
"Common sense has prevailed and this reform, led by the Federal Government, is long overdue," he stated, before claiming the details around what exact products constitute feminine hygiene products wouldn’t be confirmed for a couple of months.
Australia’s decision to scrap the tampon tax follows in the footsteps of various other nations. Earlier this year, India and Malaysia removed their taxes in June and August, respectively.