The Coalition Government understands that the application of the GST to feminine hygiene products is an important issue to many people. Under the intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations and Commonwealth legislation, a change to the rate or base of the GST would need to be supported by all of the States and Territories. It would also require the passage of relevant legislation to be passed by both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament.
At the Council on Federal Financial Relations Tax Reform Workshop on 21 August 2015, the States and Territories considered a proposal from the Commonwealth to remove the GST from feminine hygiene products. As there was no unanimous agreement at the time, no change to the existing GST arrangements for feminine hygiene products will be progressed.
Not one State or Territory has raised this issue with the Treasurer or indicated a change to their jurisdictions’ earlier view, including at the most recent meeting of Sate and Territory Treasurers in Melbourne several weeks ago.
The Coalition Government has been taking action to successfully address the problem of a narrowing GST base for the States and Territories through increased integrity measures and expansion into digital services and low value goods that will yield an additional $1.9 billion dollars next year. This means more funds for hospitals, schools and police. We are also working with the Sates to make the GST distribution system fairer, more resilient and more sustainable.
The removal of items from the GST base is ultimately a matter for the States and Territories, who have not supported any change to the treatment of feminine hygiene products, including when being given the opportunity to do so.