Health levy on sugary drinks would put Australians' health above corporate profits
Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition Jane Martin welcomed the AMA’s calls for a health levy on sugary drinks, urging the Australian Government to follow one of the 45 jurisdictions around the world that have already introduced a levy, which has seen a reduction in consumption of sugary drinks and in some cases, reformulation of drinks.
“Sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar in Australian’s diets, increasing the risk of obesity and chronic disease. Our community expects government to put the health of all Australians above industry profits, with 7 out of 10 Australians supporting a health levy on sugary drinks, if the proceeds were used to fund obesity prevention.”
“We’ve already seen similar levies introduced overseas. The UK’s health levy has already raised £336 million (over $600 million Australian dollars) and big brands have cut the sugar content of their drinks. South Africa has also seen reduced consumption and reformulation by industry after introduction of a levy. These policy successes demonstrate that such measures aimed at reducing sugar in the diet are both feasible and politically acceptable. It’s time for Australia to take up the gauntlet and acknowledge the true cost of these drinks and protect Australians from ill health.”
“The UK’s policy demonstrates to the rest of world that such measures aimed at protecting children are both feasible and politically acceptable. Their leadership, together with the strong public support for government regulation, adds to the breadth of evidence highlighting a need for government to act and implement higher standards to protect children from the processed food industry’s marketing,” Ms Martin said.
*Nuss T, Chen YJM, Dixon H, Morley B. (2020). Australians’ support for initiatives to protect children from unhealthy food and drink marketing and advertising. Research brief, prepared for: Obesity Policy Coalition. Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria.