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Share the Dignity
09 November 2016
Roy Morgan research has found that in a four-week period almost 4.2 million women aged 14-54 (65%) pay GST when “indulging” in the luxury of buying tampons, sanitary pads or panty liners.
Tampons and pads are considered "luxury items" and, as such, attract GST.
Rochelle Courtenay (above) , founder of the charity Share the Dignity, has seen what happens when women find themselves in a situation where every penny counts and they have to choose between buying a meal or sanitary items.
In 2015, shocked to read a piece on Mamma Mia about the difficulties homeless women face when getting their period - using rolled up toilet paper or newspaper because sanitary items are just too expensive - Rochelle decided to do something about this appalling set of circumstances.
Looking into the issue, she quickly found it wasn’t a problem confined to homeless women.
“Women on the land in drought affected areas are going without because the family budget won’t stretch there, and women in domestic violence situations - where they’ve had to pick up the kids and just run – they are especially vulnerable. For some young girls where their families may not always have enough money, they will skip school. No woman should have to suffer the indignity,” says Rochelle, whose Share the Dignity sets out to make sure vulnerable women and young girls have access to sanitary items.
“We collect for distribution through our charity connections packets of pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. We run two drives a year, in August and April, as well as our ‘It’s In the Bag’ Christmas drive.”
‘It’s In the Bag’ asks Australians to donate a handbag they no longer use, filled with items that would make a woman feel special. The campaign runs from Saturday 19 November 2016 to Saturday 3 December.
According to Rochelle, her charity partners, who distribute the sanitary and personal items, say these items are traditionally the last thing to be donated but the first thing to be taken by women.
In the 12 months prior to May 2016, Share the Dignity collected 270,000 packets of pads and tampons. At an average price of $5 that’s over $1,350,000 worth of pads and tampons, and a staggering $135,000 in GST on those items due to the ‘Luxury Tax’. Rochelle is keen to see the tax done away with.
Interestingly, Roy Morgan’s research found that another 1.2 million Australians (14+) also indulged in the luxury items — this group included older women and, yes, around 570,000 men (presumably buying for someone else. Sadly, it has been noted that if you were running a campaign to get the tax removed the following headline might be effective: Over Half a Million Men Unfairly Taxed Each Month.)
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