The leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale, has proposed a 20 per cent tax be implemented on sugary drinks.
This ‘sugar tax’, to be paid by importers or producers, is recognised by the Australian Dental Association as well as the other major political parties as a crucial step in reducing the obesity epidemic which continues to spread through the country.
Sugar taxes are a key recommendation of the World Health Organisation for nations aiming to reduce trends of obesity and decay within their populations.
However, according to the WHO, the tax is most effective when implemented amongst a suite of other initiatives.
The Greens have shown an awareness of this, integrating the proposed tax into a wider health policy specifically targeted at children. The broader policy would introduce more understandable food labels, place restrictions on junk-food advertising for children and young adults, and offer financial assistance for children from low-income families to undertake sports and exercise.
If enacted, the policy is expected to bring a 12 per cent decline in the consumption of water-based beverages that contain more than 5g of sugar per 100ml.
Noting the major health crisis confronting Australia, Senator Di Natale, who was a general practitioner and public health specialist before entering federal politics, had this to say about the policy’s hoped-for positive results:
“The sweetest part of this policy will be the longer term benefits to Australians by reducing chronic disease and achieving better health outcomes.”
The policy is expected to raise approximately AU$500 million in revenue per year, and all of this will be reinvested in full into the promotion of health initiatives for Australians.
To read more about the new health policy, visit http://greens.org.au/news/vic/new-sugar-tax-sweetener-your-health