Health stakeholders have welcomed today’s announcement by the Australian Greens that the party plans to implement a price rise of 20% on sugar sweetened drinks.
The Greens predict this would result in a 12% drop in consumption. The tax would be paid by producers or importers.
“PHAA has long supported taxing of unhealthy commodities as part of multipronged and comprehensive approaches to improving the public’s health. The UK announced their tax in March 2016 and PHAA have been advocating for a similar commitment from Australian political parties,” Public Health Association of Australia president Professor Heather Yeatman.
“Bipartisan support is needed for this tax to make an impact on the obesity problem in Australia. Other major parties have a chance to use the Green’s policy as a springboard and implement a sugar tax as part of their comprehensive nutrition prevention policies,” she says.
Earlier this week Labor announced they will commit $10 million to introduce a National Nutrition Framework which will expand the Health Star Rating to help Australians make healthier food choices.
The National Heart Foundation also welcomed the Greens’ announcement.
Heart Foundation Chief Medical Advisor Prof Garry Jennings said it was well established that obesity was a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
“Excessive intake of sugar sweetened beverages play a part in this which is why the Heart Foundation has been calling for an examination into a health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages,” Prof Jennings says.
“Introducing policy to address the issue of obesity in Australia would be a game changer and we encourage all political parties to be involved in tackling this problem.
“Australia was a world-leader on plain packaging for tobacco and set the standards other countries are now adopting.
“Along with the United Kingdom, we need to be on the front foot with obesity too.”