Free period products for Carlton council facilities

Katie Johnson

Period products will soon be made available for free at six City of Melbourne community facilities.

The Kathleen Syme Community Centre and Carlton Baths will be among the locations where vulnerable women will be able to access products for at least 12 months.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said vending machines stocked with period care products would be installed as part of a pilot program aimed at tackling period poverty.

“Around 15 per cent of people who menstruate in Victoria have been unable to afford period products at some stage in their lives,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Everybody should be able to access pads and tampons, regardless of their personal circumstances, which is why we are taking the important step of offering these products for free, as soon as it’s safe to reopen our community facilities.”

When restrictions allow, free period products will also be available at Library at the Dock, City Library, Melbourne Town Hall public toilets and the North Melbourne Community Centre.

The council’s health, wellbeing and belonging portfolio lead Cr Olivia Ball said access to period care products should not be a luxury.

“Periods are a normal part of life and access to products to manage them is a basic necessity,” Cr Ball said.

“Some members of our community cannot regularly afford sanitary products, or may be unable to access them in an emergency, or in cases of domestic and family violence.”

“This program will deliver vending machines stocked with supplies to locations across the CBD, Carlton, Docklands and North Melbourne.”

Cr Jamal Hakim, who put the motion to council to introduce the program, said it aimed to improve the health, comfort and inclusion of people who menstruate.

“Easy access to period products means that people who menstruate are able to fully participate in their communities in every way possible – whether that’s for work, leisure or other community participation,” Cr Hakim said.

“This pilot program gives us an opportunity to directly reach Melburnians in places they already visit for work, sport, study and other community activities.”

“We’d welcome feedback from Melburnians as the pilot takes place, and will work with community organisations to see how we can expand the roll out of free period products in the municipality.” •

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