Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling for donations of female hygiene products and toiletries for vulnerable community members, in the lead up to International Women’s Day.
“This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Generation Equality’ – a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a world where every girl and woman has equal opportunities to fulfil their full potential,” Chesters said.
“Equal access income is central to levelling the playing field for all women across the generations.
“Right now, because of gender income inequality, local women are going without basics like pads, tampons and toiletries.
“Emergency relief centres in Bendigo are doing great work to assist locals in need of food, but necessity items like sanitary products and toiletries are often overlooked when people make donations.
“The removal of the tampon tax last year was good news for Australian women, but these items can still get expensive.
“Pads, tampons and toiletries are a basic need for women to live with dignity.
“The vast majority of women in need of emergency relief are on some form of Centrelink payment like Newstart, Youth Allowance or the Pension.
“These payments are too low, they’re so low that they are forcing people into poverty.
“Everyone should be able to afford the basics, it’s why I’m continuing to call for a rise in the Newstart rate,” Chesters said.
“If you can, the next time you go shopping I encourage you to buy an extra packet of sanitary items or toiletries and donate them to one of our relief centres.
Anne Villiers from Kangaroo Flat Uniting said around 30 people visit their emergency relief centre each day.
“When people come in, they tick a list of things they need, which includes the option of toiletries and sanitary items.
“We would like to build a stockpile of these products so they are on hand as people request them. There is always a need” Villiers said.
“Some of the older women that come in also have teenage girls at home they need to provide for.”
Donations can be made to Uniting’s emergency relief centres or op-shops around the Greater Bendigo area.