Labor will Axe the "Tampon Tax"

30 April 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will end Australia’s unfair and discriminatory “tampon tax”, partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.

This is a tax on women in Griffith.

Member for Griffith, Terri Butler, said it was time the unfair tax was ended.

“Australian women are hit with the 10 per cent GST on these products– around $30 million a year in tax – because they are not considered necessities. 

“The tax shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products aren’t a luxury item. They are necessary for reproductive health and hygiene.

“At the same time, products such as incontinence pads, sunscreen and nicotine patches – even Viagra – are exempt from the tax. 

“That’s why Labor is leading the way to abolish this tax on sanitary items.”

Terri Butler said that Malcolm Turnbull should announce plans in next month’s Budget to scrap the tampon tax.

“Labor is offering a solution to end this tax - there is no reason for Malcolm Turnbull to refuse it.

“If Mr Turnbull fails to adopt Labor’s policy, a Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to scrap the tax urgently upon coming to office.” 

To offset the loss of revenue to the states from GST on sanitary items, GST will be applied consistently to 12 natural therapies that are sometimes GST free, such as herbalism and naturopathy.

Ensuring the GST is applied to these therapies will bring their GST treatment into line with bipartisan policy to remove the private health insurance rebate from them.

These natural therapies are not supported by clinical evidence, as the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and the National Health and Medical Research Council found in a review in 2015.

At a time when government budgets are tight, the GST health exemption should only cover items with proven clinical effectiveness.

“Scrapping the tampon tax will make sanitary products more affordable – but just as importantly, it will be an important step forward in gender equity,” Terri Butler said.