Suzanne Orr MLA to introduce Bill after community consultation, that will help address period poverty and the stigma associated with periods in the ACT.
The Period Products and Facilities (Access) Bill 2022 will set in place requirements for the ACT Government to provide period products free of charge at designated and accessible places across the ACT. The Bill also requires that information on menstrual hygiene is made available publicly.
An exposure draft bill was released in December 2021 for public comment, to allow stakeholders and Canberrans to provide feedback.
Ms Orr says the engagement with the community over the past 7 months has helped improve the Bill to ensure the legislation is as inclusive and functional as possible.
“I have been very pleased with how many people have reached out in support of this Bill and provided feedback. I am excited to introduce my Bill and for the ACT to be the first jurisdiction in Australia to begin tackling this important issue in this way”. Said Ms Orr.
Since releasing the exposure draft, Ms Orr has met with various stakeholders for feedback, including community groups, unions and other individuals who will benefit from this legislation. This has led to an expansion of the Bill to include mandatory access to toilets and hygiene facilities on ACT Public Service and Territory Funded Worksites.
“Workers and their representatives provided significant feedback about the inadequate access to women’s bathrooms which can be issue particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries.” Said Ms Orr.
“It has been clear from the start and fundamental that this legislation not only addressed access to period products but put in place principals to ensure workers had access to bathroom and hygiene facilities while at their workplace”.
“Having access to period products is impractical if a person does not have access to the facilities to be able to privately and hygienically use these products”.
According to the Period Pride’s Report on their ‘Bloody Big Survey’, 15% of respondents in the ACT have been unable to afford period products at some point in their life.
The survey that launched alongside the exposure draft of the Bill, to date has received over 400 responses from Canberrans who have shared their personal experiences with period poverty.
The Bill is expected to be debated by the Assembly in early 2023.