All Victorian state schools will have free pads and tampons in female, unisex and accessible bathrooms under a re-elected Labor government.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the program would be an Australian first from term three next year.
“We want to break down the stigma of menstruation and ensure it does not impact on a student’s ability to be comfortable at school and ready to learn,” she said in a statement.
“This is about giving female students the dignity they deserve, and helping families with the cost of living along the way.”
The government says students who do not have access to sanitary products often cannot concentrate in class, may not feel comfortable doing physical activity, or may miss school altogether, creating unnecessary stress and potentially delaying changes of products, increasing the risk of toxic shock or cervical cancer.
“Labor believes that tampons and pads are as basic and necessary as toilet paper and soap,” the party said in a statement.
The Department of Education and Training will work with schools to determine the best method to dispense the items.
Similar moves have happened in the United States and Scotland.