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Free sanitary pads and tampons for people in remote First Nations communities | Ministers of the Health Portfolio

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Press release

To help tackle period poverty and reduce pressure on living costs, the Australian Government will provide free sanitary pads and tampons to women and girls living in remote First Nations communities.

This initiative will help approximately 12,500 women and girls in these communities each year access menstrual products, including sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups and menstrual underwear.

Period products can cost almost double the price in some remote communities, with people paying an average of $15 to $25 for a pack of sanitary pads, compared to an average of $10 to $15 in metropolitan areas.

This inequality means that women and girls in remote First Nations communities are often forced to miss school, work, community events and social activities when they have their periods.

The Australian Government will provide $12.5 million over four years to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO) to work with communities to distribute these essential health products.

The community-led program ensures that individuals can access the products in a way that works for each community.

Making these products more accessible and free will improve physical and mental health, boost educational and employment outcomes, and create a ripple effect that benefits individuals, families and communities.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney, MP:

“Every woman and girl should have access to sanitary pads or tampons, no matter where they live.”

“No one should have to choose between paying for menstrual products instead of food, gas or rent, and no one should have to miss daily activities because they have their period.

“Providing free menstrual products will help First Nations people who struggle to access these essential products.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health, Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy:

“We know that people in remote communities are struggling due to the high cost of living, and this program will help ease the pressure and improve access to menstrual products.

“Improving access to sanitary pads and tampons is important so that women and girls can fully participate in community life – in study, work and social activities.