Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is directed to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, the Honourable James Merlino.
The Andrews Labor government is committed to providing sufficient facilities to schoolchildren. In an Australian first, the Andrews Labor government is rolling out pads and tampons in every state school, free of charge, to reduce the stigma of periods, to make school more inclusive for girls and young women and to save families money.
The $20.7 million investment will provide students in every government primary, secondary and specialist school in Victoria access to free pads and tampons, helping to remove barriers to getting a great education.
University High School will be amongst the first schools to have the products on offer for students, with more schools being rolled out progressively, fulfilling a 2018 election commitment.
The Labor government’s investment will ensure pads and tampons are at schools to help girls to manage their periods with greater ease and less embarrassment and to normalise periods as a healthy part of growing up.
The action I seek from the minister is to provide me an update on when this initiative will be rolled out in the schools in my area of Western Metropolitan Region.
Mr MERLINO (Monbulk—Minister for Education) (3 March 2020):
I am informed as follows:
In the 2018-19 State Budget, the Andrews Labor Government committed $20.7 million over four years to provide free sanitary pads and tampons in government schools. Under this initiative sanitary pads, tampons and purpose-built dispensers will be provided to every government primary, secondary and specialist school in the state.
Lack of easy access to sanitary items can negatively affect attitudes, behaviours and equal participation in sport and everyday school activities. By providing access to sanitary items these barriers can be reduced.
The Government’s investment will ensure sanitary pads and tampons are available at school to help students manage their periods with greater ease and less embarrassment, and to normalise periods as a healthy part of growing up.
The initiative commenced roll out in Term 3, 2019 and will continue through Terms 1 and 2, 2020.
At this stage in the implementation schedule, 107 of the 146 schools in the Western Metropolitan Area have had sanitary dispensers installed in student bathrooms. The remaining 39 schools are scheduled to have dispensers installed in the Western Metropolitan Area by the end of Term 2 this year.