- The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has sparked new debate over Australia’s need for a sugar tax, but our politicians remain resistant.
- Sugary drinks are at the forefront of the proposed tax thanks to the skyrocketing amounts of sugar in beverages.
- Coca-Cola in the UK has also reduced the size of their bottles but increased their price point ahead of the impending sugar tax, which is due to take effect in April.
Calls for a sugar tax has been reignited in the last few days thanks to The Australian Medical Association, who are petitioning the Australian government to make a change.
While the medical body has been fairly conservative in terms of their public position in the past, the sugar tax has now become “a matter of priority” for them. But, the Australian government are dragging their feet, with health minister, Greg Hunt, announcing that they won’t support it as he considers food labelling laws to be strong enough already.
Talks seem to be at a standstill for now, but the AMA is still pushing for improved education in terms of how to make healthy lifestyle choices, restricted food advertising to kids and a tax on sugary drinks. While sugary drinks might seem a small part of the problem, it’s quickly spinning out of control. With frozen Slurpees – which only cost around $1 – containing up to 20 teaspoons of sugar, it’s well and truly time for the government to intervene.
And, in the UK, the government have done just that! The British sugar tax takes effect in April this year with changes already taking place. Local beverage company, Coca-Cola, for instance, recently announced that the size of their 1.75L bottles will be shrinking to just 1.5L. The iconic company has also decided to increase the price of their product by 20p to cover the cost of the looming tax. British Coca-Cola contains around 10.6 grams of sugar per 100ml, which under the new restrictions means they’ll be taxed 24p, per litre.
President of the AMA, Dr Michael Gannon, thinks that a tax on sugary drinks is a simple way to take a step in right direction.
“We see this as comparable to the war on tobacco. We think that, bit by bit, we need to change behaviours. We need to drag Government to action with a variety of measures. One of the easiest to implement, and one of the simplest to call for, is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. We don’t think that’s the silver bullet to fix our obesity crisis, but it’s certainly part of the jigsaw.”
And we, of course, wholeheartedly agree. As do the Australian public with a recent Guardian poll showing that 53 per cent of respondents were in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Similar sugar taxes are already in place in 26 countries around the world and it’s time that Australia FINALLY jumped on board.
Show your support for a sugar tax in Australia by signing our Sugar Tax petition here!