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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Dignity First helps women and girls experiencing homelessness

    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Friday, December 23, 2016

    Dignity First helps women and girls experiencing homelessness

    For women experiencing homelessness, accessing personal hygiene products can be a significant source of stress and shame, but Queensland charity Share the Dignity is set to provide an innovative solution thanks to a funding boost from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First Fund.

    In what Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni described as an Australian first, Share the Dignity’s ‘Pink Box’ vending machines will dispense individual packs of feminine hygiene products free of charge once installed in community locations across Queensland.

    “Coin operated machines are already available in many places, but what makes this machine different is the timer mechanism which dispenses the packs once every ten minutes,” Mr de Brenni said.

    “Women who need hygiene products can access them easily and discreetly, without having to feel awkward about it - they’re in control of the whole process.”

    Rochelle Courtney, founder of Share the Dignity, said the machines would also assist women at risk of domestic and family violence to access supportive services in a safe way.

    “Women who are experiencing domestic and family violence face extra risks when they decide to seek help, so reaching out to women to share information can be difficult,” Ms Courtney said.

    “We’ve partnered with tampon manufacturer Cottons to print the 1800 RESPECT phone number inside every pack of tampons they sell.

    “These dignity packs will also be printed with the number, which will be another discreet way to provide that information to women without their partner knowing.

    “Over the holiday season, we often see an escalation in domestic and family violence, so it’s really important that we get that message out to women.”

    Member for Sandgate Stirling Hinchliffe said the $60,000 funding boost would see 10 machines installed in a variety of locations across Queensland which are easily accessible to the public.

    “Homelessness is a complex issue and requires a whole-of-community approach to finding a solution,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “This project relies on community partners to install the machines in public places like fast food restaurants or shopping centres.

    “But with support from local business owners like Rod Chiapello, who is hosting the project’s pilot site at Bracken Ridge McDonald’s, Share the Dignity are negotiating sites in Fortitude Valley, Southport, the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Townsville, with more locations to come.”

    Mr de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was designed to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.

    “Everyone has the right to live with dignity irrespective of the situation they may find themselves in,” Mr de Brenni said.

    “While we work toward longer term solutions, projects like these offer an opportunity for us to show these vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation.”

    [ENDS] 23 December, 2016

    Media contact: Cat Milton 0410 644 113