Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Sanitary Products in Schools

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:22): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney representing the Minister for Education in another place a question about period products in public schools.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: Last week, the Queensland government announced that all its state schools would be given the opportunity to receive a dignity vending machine which provides free period products to students following a $13.3 million investment in next week's state budget. The Queensland Premier correctly stated that access to essential period products should never be a barrier to learning.

Her announcement comes as new research reveals that period pain is taking a toll on girls' academic performance as they report not being taught enough about menstruation before their first period. The study found that menstrual health literacy has a direct impact on young people's quality of life, health, academic and professional performance. The previous Liberal state government had the golden opportunity to lead the nation in this crucial area of providing free period products for public school students in South Australia and, I'm afraid to say, failed to do so in any adequate way.

My question to the minister is: given its support in opposition of the scheme that was proposed in this place, does the Malinauskas government have plans to follow in the footsteps of its Labor counterparts in Queensland and Victoria and make period products universally free for all public students in South Australia and, if so, when and how?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:23): I thank the honourable member for her questions and I will refer them to the education minister in another place and bring back a reply.