The Australian Government has announced it will no longer require men to apply a new, more-expensive hair colour to their hair, despite the popular trend of colouring their hair white.
A statement from Health Minister David Davis said the move to end the mandatory men’s colouring would affect “the health and wellbeing of men in Australia”.
“In a world where men are becoming increasingly aware of their health and well-being, this policy decision reflects an important part of the Government’s commitment to protecting our communities and their wellbeing,” Mr Davis said.
“The Government believes that men deserve access to appropriate care for their health.”
Mr Davis said that under the new policy, men would no longer need to apply for a new prescription for a hair colour.
He said men could still get hair colour for free, however.
Mr Brown, the head of the Australian Hair Colour and Hair Colour Industry Association, said the announcement came as a “big shock” for the hair industry.
“We’ve seen the Government really take the lead on the issues around the new government hair colour policy, and it’s a really big step,” he said.
“There is definitely going to be a bit of shock at the news, and the industry is going to have to adjust to that.”
Mr Brown said the government had not announced the change in its policy yet, and he was unsure how many men would be affected by the change.
ABC News asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics whether the change would affect men who are already required to apply the new colouring.
An ANU spokeswoman said the ANU does not comment on policy decisions.
But a spokesman for the Australian National University Health Department said that the department’s hair research showed the mandatory change would “seriously affect men’s wellbeing”.
“Men are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, stress and other psychological issues if they have a white beard, according to a report commissioned by the university,” the spokesperson said.
“The new policy is likely to have a substantial impact on men’s mental health.”
Mr Davis’ announcement comes as men’s advocacy group Men’s Voices Australia (MVA) announced it was holding an online campaign to raise awareness about the issue.
The group is asking the public to help raise awareness of the issue, and is asking people to share their stories and photos with their friends, family and colleagues.
Men’s Voices is also asking people not to share personal information online, such as their name, address or phone number, with the organisation, but they will be able to provide details when they share their story publicly on its Facebook page.
“It’s important that men are aware of the fact that it’s illegal to be labelled as white in Australia,” Mr Brown said.