Despite several calls from health organisations, the Australian government has announced that it has no plans to support a tax on drinks high in sugar. The government has been urged by the Australian Medical Association to impose the tax in a bid to improve dietary habits and reduce obesity levels. In a statement, the association claims more than half of Australians are in the ‘high-risk’ bracket.
“We do not support a new tax on sugar to address this issue,” said a spokesperson for the Health Minister. The government is looking at alternatives such as supporting new labelling laws.
The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) stands behind the decision, as such taxes have failed in other countries previously, it has also led to job losses in the manufacturing and retailing industry.
“Our own research in this area shows most Australians are opposed to a sugar tax on the basis it would pressure their budgets and threaten jobs,” said the AACS. “But while it obviously makes no political sense to pursue a sugar tax policy, the available evidence suggests it makes no health sense either.”
Over 26 countries across the world have implemented a tax on sugar due to increased levels of obesity, with several more addressing the issue in 2018.