Labor Treasurers Back Removal Of GST From Sanitary Products

14 August 2015

The Treasurers of Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT today confirmed that they will seek to have the GST removed on sanitary products, when it is raised at next week’s Council of Federal Financial Relations in Canberra.

The removal of GST from sanitary products is about fairness.

Currently, Australian women spend close to $300 million on sanitary products, but unlike condoms, lubricants and sunscreen – which are all exempt from GST – they also pay GST on those purchases.

On ABC’s Q&A in May the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said he would raise this issue with the States and Territories and seek their opinion.

We look forward to Mr Hockey putting it to the states and territories, and providing the opportunity for all the treasurers to back it in. The proposal also has the support of federal Labor.

The change is simple. Once the proposal receives the unanimous support of the states and territories, the Federal Health Minister can declare by determination, the supply of a good to be GST-free. Currently, condoms, lubricants, folic acid, sunscreen and nicotine (in any form for use as an aid in withdrawal from tobacco smoking) are declared under this determination.

Analysis shows that the revenue lost by the removal of the GST on sanitary products will be more than covered by the broadening of the GST to include digital downloads. This represents a rare opportunity for the Commonwealth to remove the GST from sanitary products without decreasing GST revenue to the states.

We urge the Treasurers of NSW, WA, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to support the proposal.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas

‘There is no sensible reason why GST – an unfair tax by its very nature - should be imposed on sanitary products, and it’s high time that this was removed.”

Quotes attributable to Acting South Australian Treasurer Jack Snelling

“South Australia joins with the other Labor Treasurers in supporting the removal of GST on these purchases and we hope all states and territories support this call next week.”

Quotes attributable to ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr

“This is a clear case of inequality in the GST system. The lost revenue can be recouped from other reforms such applying the GST to digital downloads and overseas products bought online.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt

“This issue dates back to when John Howard first conceived the GST. It was unfair to subject essential female hygiene products to GST then and it still is now.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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