By David Salvaire
The WA government will not support the removal of the GST on tampons despite a nationwide petition of support that has received nearly 100,000 signatures.
Subeta Vimalarajah, from Sydney, who started the petition, says it’s not fair to put a tax on essential items.
“People who get periods don’t buy pads and tampons for pleasure, so why are we forced to fork out an extra 10% every three or four weeks?”
“This tax brings in $25 million a year in revenue, it’s upsetting to know that the government is profiting from our periods,” she says.
Before any exemptions can be made to the GST, state governments across Australia have to agree to the changes.
State Treasurer Mike Nahan says WA wouldn’t consider any individual changes until a better share of the GST is given to the state.
“Any removal of exemptions from the GST process should be part of broader GST reform,” he says.
“Western Australia considers broader reform of the GST distribution process, a process that currently results in Western Australia receiving an unacceptably low share of the national GST pool, to be our main priority.”
Mrs Vimalarajah is in Canberra today to lobby the government and secure more signatures for the petition.
Armed with a giant tampon and accompanied by fellow supporters, Mrs Vimalarajah says she hopes to change people’s minds and get them talking about gender issues.
“This is a really serious matter but we’re having a bit of fun with it,” she says.
“Australia has changed a lot and we’re having a more meaningful dialogue around gender in our community. Honestly when I started out I wasn’t that hopeful but day by day it looks more promising.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey was recently confronted by Mrs Vimalarajah on a television panel show where he declared his support for the removal of the tax.
“It’s very humbling to have Mr Hockey support the changes and lobby the states but there’s still a way to go.”
“The petition hasn’t been finalised so it would be great to get some more signatures in the next couple of weeks,” she says.
Hear what Murdoch students think about the idea to make tampons tax-free.