Accessible, functional and inclusive public toilets
Public toilets are a right. Everyone deserves access to basic sanitation and hygiene. Providing safe, accessible and inclusive public toilets is essential to community participation. In addition to using toilets to dispose of bodily waste, people use them to take medication, manage menstruation, care for children, breastfeed infants, access drinking water, wash hands and attend to personal hygiene. Public toilets are an essential public service.
In the inner west there are too few public toilets, and for too many people in our community they aren’t accessible or easy to use. The impact of this on our community in terms of participation, inclusivity and convenience is significant, and it is disproportionately felt by people living with disability or health conditions, women, parents and carers, children, delivery drivers and riders, and people who are trans or gender diverse. A livable inner west means better public infrastructure, including clean and accessible public toilets.
Delivery drivers and riders are particularly impacted by the lack of public toilets, as there are no facilities provided by their employment. There has been a sustainable increase in food delivery drivers across the inner west driven in part by the pandemic. That means there are hundreds of local workers without decent access to necessities. More and better public toilets in the inner west would go some way to addressing this.
The pandemic has also emphasised the need for accessible, functional and inclusive public spaces for exercise and recreation, with public toilets being an essential component of this.
The Greens want new public toilets for each ward
If elected, Greens on the Inner West Council will consult with the community to identify a site in each ward in need of new public toilets. Camperdown Memorial Rest Park is in Damun Ward, and has long been identified as needing public toilets. Greens on the Inner West Council will push for those toilets to be built.
Always a public toilet nearby
The Greens aim to ensure that public toilets are within a ‘walkable distance’. By building new toilets, and working with the state government and local businesses to make their toilets publically available, the Greens will increase public toilet coverage to provide clean and well-maintained facilities.
To facilitate usage, Greens on the Inner West Council will ensure increased public signage and a comprehensive online toilet map.
Accessible, functional public toilets
Greens on the Inner West Council will undertake an audit of existing public toilets in the inner west to ensure they comply with the national public toilet principles.
Free pads and tampons
Accessible, functional and inclusive public toilets mean providing free products for menstruation. Public toilets provide everything needed to eliminate waste hygienically, but only for people who do not menstruate. The fact that we don’t have free period products in public toilets is a relic from the days when women were expected to stay at home and public toilets were for men only. Period poverty and a lack of access to sanitary products is associated with a lower quality of life, poor self-esteem and mental health issues. Providing free period products in public toilets make for a more accessible, functional and fairer inner west. Greens Councillors in the City of Melbourne have successfully secured a pilot program to offer free tampons and pads in public bathrooms. Upon successful completion of this trial, our Inner West Councillors will provide this service in all Inner West Council’s public toilets.
Inclusive public toilets
Greens on Inner West Council will ensure new public toilet facilities are inclusive and accessible to all, and strive to convert pre-existing facilities to ensure gender neutral options where appropriate and with community consultation. All new public toilets will be for everyone. Gender neutral bathrooms are generally cubicle based with shared wash spaces. They’re an important part of providing an inclusive public space for trans, intersex and gender diverse members of our community.