Today is World Toilet Day, which this year carries the tagline ‘We Can’t Wait’.

Initiated by the United Nations last year, World Toilet Day this year highlights the fact that 2.5 billion people across the world still do not have access to proper sanitation in the form of a basic toilet.

Sanitation is the most lagging target of the Millennium Development Goals. Australia is working to improve this situation, which has profound implications for human health, dignity and security.

In 2014-15 Australia will spend $217.2 million on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs in the Indo-Pacific region, which aim to improve sanitation conditions for all people, especially vulnerable groups.

“‘Equality and Dignity’ is the theme for World Toilet Day 2014,” said Senator Mason.

“This highlights the need for toilets to be fitted appropriately for all people to access them, including people with disabilities and the elderly, as well as being designed to provide greater security for women and girls.

“Australia’s sanitation programs are carefully designed with these needs in mind. For instance, in the Pacific, Australia is supporting a market-based sanitation program designed to improve access to clean and affordable toilets with the aim of improving women and girls’ safety and health.

“It is important to recognise that proper sanitation, which many of us take for granted, is unfortunately not yet a condition that all communities enjoy and that providing this is essential for upholding the rights of equality and dignity that all people are entitled to.”

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