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Women spared GST on sanitary products, small businesses celebrate

Australian women will no longer have to pay GST on tampons and sanitary pads, after the states and territories finally agreed to abolish the tax on feminine hygiene products.

After an 18-year public campaign which began when the GST was introduced, the 10 per cent tax on women’s products will be ditched from January 1.

The tax impost on sanitary items – which also extends to menstrual cups, maternity pads and leak-proof underwear – has long been described as unfair because men’s products like condoms and Viagra are exempt.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer says efforts to remove the tampon tax have endured a “tortured history” and she is glad it is finally gone.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the GST should never have been put on sanitary products in the first place.

“We welcome the fact that this discriminatory tax has been lifted.”

The move will cost states and territories $30 million, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says they are already making up for it through unexpectedly high GST revenues in other areas.

State and territory treasurers backed the change during a meeting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the unanimous agreement as “a bit of common sense”.

“It had always been our view that we wanted to see it changed,” he said.

Dynamic Business spoke with small business owners about the abolishment of the tampon tax.

Mia Klitsas, Co-founder / Director, Moxie products: 

To say the decision was overdue is an understatement; we’ve waited 18 years since the introduction of the GST for our government to recognise that it was an unequitable tax and that sanitary hygiene products are in fact a necessity. It’s certainly been a long battle, but it’s such a relief that we finally got it across the line. I think it’s a huge step forward in the march towards equality in Australia but it will also really benefit those who have in the past struggled to afford sanitary products.

Modibodi spokesperson:

At Modibodi, we welcome the news that the Australian Government has finally recognised this unfair and biased tax on our bodies and that sustainable and reusable hygiene products such as Modibodi Leak-Proof Underwear has been recognised under this tax exemption. We are excited about the prospect of being able to offer our customers a GST free product and introducing more people to the future period management that is convenient, comfortable and will make a positive impact on the environment.

Julie Mathers, Founder & CEO, Flora & Fauna:

It’s great news that it’s axed and about time, it’s taken too long. I now hope that this includes all sanitary items such as reusable menstrual cups, reusable pads and period underwear. I also hope that this GST saving is passed on to the customer in all instances.

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Gali Blacher

Gali Blacher

Gali Blacher, editor, Dynamic Business

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