World Toilet Day 2023

19 November is World Toilet Day! What's that all about? Today Abigail passed a call for the government to eliminate barriers to accessing sanitation faced by 24% of Australians. 

Abigail moved: 

(1) That this House notes that

(a) Sunday 19 November 2023 was World Toilet Day. The toilet is a symbol of health and dignity, and while it may seem simple to some, safe, clean and adequate toilet facilities are a basic human right that over two billion people worldwide do not have access to; 

(b) according to the Australian Institute of International Affairs, in Australia approximately 24 percent of the population don’t have access to an adequate level of sanitation, which is a reflection of the inequities within this overall highly-resourced country particularly for remote First Nations communities, people with disability, LGBTQIA+ people and girls and women;

(c) for the four million people with disability in Australia, being denied equal access to toilets is a daily barrier, with many “accessible” toilets not being truly accessible for all people with disability;

(d) the Human Rights Commission receives hundreds of complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act every year in relation to inadequate access to goods, services, facilities and premises including toilets, with many existing public and private toilets not being 100 percent compliant with accessible standards;

(e) on 10 November 2021, the NSW Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion moved by Ms Abigail Boyd calling on the NSW Coalition Government to support calls for better regulations and prescribed codes of practice within occupational industries and to enforce mandatory women’s amenities on all worksites across NSW which are accessible, available, suitable and sanitary;

(f) in 2023 in NSW, despite all workplaces being legally required to have safe and comfortable toilet facilities for their workers, countless women in occupational industries show up to worksites with either no toilet at all or an inadequate and unsanitary toilet;

(g) a national survey by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) conducted in October 2022 found that:

half of workers don’t have amenities that are cleaned regularly,

one quarter of workers don’t have regular access to toilet paper,

one in five workers don’t always have running water in their amenities,

one in six workers don’t have access to any onsite amenities at all,

one in five women don’t have access to sanitary bins, 

women workers are 10 percent less likely to have access to toilets compared to their male peers,

NSW, SA and WA were the worst states in Australia for providing amenities for women, and

nearly 50 percent of women have raised an issue in their workplace about inadequate amenities compared with less than 30 percent of men;

(h) the ETU has called on the Federal Government to establish a review into setting minimum health and safety standards for workplace amenities, with a particular focus on the gender disparities in relation to to toilet facilities; and 

(i) these gender disparities in relation to toilet amenities and facilities are resulting in fewer women entering occupational industries and more women workers leaving these industries. 

(2) That this House calls on the NSW Labor Government to take urgent and immediate action to eliminate barriers to toilet access through robust policy and legislation including strengthening minimum accessibility standards and enforcing requirements for mandatory accessible, available, suitable and sanitary women’s amenities in all workplaces and worksites across NSW.

Read the transcript in Hansard here.

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