Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Government throws in towel over tampon tax

The Australian federal government has finally agreed to scrap GST on sanitary products, broadly known as the ‘tampon tax’.

It will remove the 10 per cent tax on tampons and towels, which means they should become cheaper for consumers.

The move comes after decades of campaigning by groups who have long argued that the tax is unjust.

Although the repeal of the tax will apply to all states and territories, the government has yet to confirm a date when it will happen.

According to the ABC, it will cost state governments $30 million a year. But the federal government has reportedly claimed that overperforming GST revenue will help cover the expenditure.

Not ‘luxury’ items

In June, the senate passed a bill drafted by the Green party to remove the tax on sanitary products. The Greens argued that the tax should go because sanitary products are necessary, not “luxury”, items.

Now, all state and territory governments have agreed.

Campaigners against the tax will consider this a hard-won – and long overdue – victory after almost 20 years of pressure. As recently as 2015, 100,000 people signed a petition entitled “stop taxing my period”.

‘The right outcome’

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer says she’s “delighted” with the decision, which she described as “the right outcome”.

She told Sky News: “Well it’s had a fairly tortured history … [then-treasurer] Joe Hockey, as the first commonwealth minister to actually raise this issue, put it on the agenda for COAG and didn’t get a lot of support from the states and territories at that time … but we said we wanted to have another crack at it.

“Millions of women right across the nation will be very thankful for it.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also lent his support to the change.

“I think it’s a bit of common sense,” he told Perth radio station 6PR. “It had always been our view that we wanted to see it changed.”

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