Joint Media Release with the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen.

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are planning to let down millions of Australian women by refusing to exempt sanitary products from the GST.

This comes after Mike Baird – a proxy for Tony Abbott – said ‘no’ to this exemption.

Joe Hockey made a big song and dance about how unfair the GST imposition was and how he was going to take this to the next meeting of Treasurers.

The Treasurer was asked on 25 May this year on the ABC’s Q&A program if the GST on sanitary products should be removed and he replied:

"It probably should, yes, the answer's yes.”

The Treasurer didn’t even refer to the issue in his media statement on tomorrow’s Treasurers meeting.  Instead it was left to the Assistant Treasurer to confirm the NSW Government’s view this morning.

It just all begs the question, why hasn’t Joe Hockey shown some leadership and refused to make available the additional GST from digital downloads until the States and Territories agree to exempt sanitary products from the GST?

This was a unique opportunity, with this additional revenue more than offsetting the lost revenue resulting from the new exemption, to leave the States and Territories better off while addressing a matter of fairness.

For more than 15 years it has been clear this anomaly needs to be fixed, it should be fixed tomorrow.

The 2015-16 Budget shows that broadening the GST to include digital downloads will raise $350 million over the forward estimates, commencing 1 July 2017.

Mr Hockey has put figures into the public domain which suggest the cost of removing GST from tampons, pads, lines and ancillary products, would be $120 million over four years.

It’s clear that the main game for the Abbott Government on the GST is to increase it and to punish low and middle income families.