Australia to exempt sanitary products from sales tax

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Canberra: Australia’s Treasurers on Wednesday agreed to exempt women’s sanitary products from General Sales Tax (GST) following years of campaigning by female groups.

Treasurers from Australia’s states and territories unanimously agreed to support the government’s proposal to remove the current 10 per cent tax on the products, ending an 18-year campaign to get the exemption.

The exact products which will be exempted from tax were not yet finalised but it was expected to cost the states 30 million Australian dollars each in tax revenue. The exemption is expected to come into effect from January.

“We’re really delighted that everyone’s come on board to scrap what is an unfair tax,” Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer told Sky News Australia.

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

Widely known as the “tampon tax”, the levy on sanitary products has drawn protests since the GST was introduced in 2000. The government that time refused to exempt them as a health product, saying the products did not prevent illness.

The Wednesday’s move was welcomed by women groups and campaigners across the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said scrapping the tax was “a bit of common sense”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It had always been our view that we wanted to see it changed,” he told Macquarie Media radio. Morrison first promised to remove the tax during his time as Treasurer, describing it as an “anomaly” that never should have existed in the first place.

Josh Frydenberg, who succeeded Morrison as Treasurer, said that his colleagues from the states and territories agreeing to the plan was “good news for women across Australia” that was “long overdue”.

(Agencies)