Inner West Council commits to state-leading roll out of free period products

Tuesday 2 July 2024

In 2023, Inner West Council became the first Council in NSW to provide free pads and tampons in public toilets. Council's trial provision of free period products ran from January 2023 to December 2023 and has been hugely successful at normalising periods and achieving equality for women and girls in modern society.

By providing free period products, Council is making these essential items as accessible as other sanitary necessities like toilet paper and soap. Inner West Council's program is vital to combating period poverty, a pressing issue affecting people who struggle to afford essential menstrual hygiene products.

Research from Plan International Australia and Share the Dignity shows that when people cannot afford necessary menstrual products, it affects their school and work attendance, sports participation, and social engagement.

During the trial, the following 10 sites were equipped with dispensing machines for menstrual products:

  1. Addison Road Community Centre
  2. Ashfield Library
  3. Marrickville Youth Resource Centre
  4. Summer Hill Neighbourhood Centre
  5. Ashfield Aquatic Centre
  6. Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre
  7. Marrickville Library
  8. Balmain Library
  9. Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
  10. Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre

Data over the year revealed high demand at five key sites: Addison Road Community Centre, Ashfield Aquatic Centre, Ashfield Library, Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre, and Marrickville Library.

Visitors at these sites consistently utilized a majority of the provided products, demonstrating the community’s enthusiastic uptake of accessible menstrual hygiene products, whether for cost of living or convenience purposes.

Based on the success of the initial trial, Inner West Council has decided to continue the program for the 2024/2025 fiscal year.

Council will also add service at the Newtown Pride Centre, managed by Twenty10, an iconic youth LGBTIQA+ service; St Peters Library; Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre and Dawn Fraser Baths, providing complete coverage at Inner West aquatic centres.

Councillor Philippa Scott, who moved the initial motion to commence the trial, said: "The Inner West community has always been at the forefront of movements towards equality and providing free period products is one more step in the long journey towards total equality for women.

“By continuing this program, we are taking significant steps towards ending period poverty and ensuring that everyone has access to essential hygiene products that are no more a luxury item than running water, soap and toilet paper".  

For media enquiries please contact Jonny Browne,

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Page last updated: 03 Jul 2024