Queensland students will have access to free feminine sanitary products in every state school.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a trial with charity Share the Dignity earlier this year would be expanded, with vending machines with free tampons and pads to be installed at every state school.
The announcement follows the southern states, which had already implemented the initiative.
Earlier this year, the Queensland government announced students across 62 schools would have access to free period products, as the first of 120 schools that would be provided with a dignity vending machine as part of the government’s $2. 5 million partnership with Share the Dignity.
That will be expanded to every state school.
Access to free period products can make a real difference to children, especially students whose families are doing it tough, have unstable accommodation or are fleeing domestic and family violence, she said.
Palaszczuk said access to period products should never be a barrier to learning.
That’s why I am proud my government is providing funding to Share the Dignity, so they can roll out vending machines to every single state school in Queensland that wants one, she said.
All Queensland year 5 to year 8 students will continue to have access to the ‘Period Talk’ program, designed to educate about menstruation and the impact of periods.
Victoria was the first state in Australia to allow universal access to free sanitary products in state schools. It began providing the products in every school from term 3 in 2019, and had installed dispensing machines in every school by the end of term 2, 2020.
In NSW, a $30 million program to place pads and tampons in schools was announced in March this year, and was expected to be rolled out to every school by the end of this month.
Last year South Australia made free pads and tampons available across schools.
The expansion across the states followed trials in a bid to stop stigma surrounding periods, and prevent students missing school because of access issues.