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Greens announce parliamentary push for sugar-sweetened beverages tax



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Media Release - Di Natale

Greens Announce Parliamentary Push for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax

Leader of the Australian Greens, Dr Richard Di Natale will today announce a move to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the rise of obesity in Australia, particularly in children. The inquiry will inform Greens draft legislation for a sugar-sweetened beverages tax as well as other policy responses to best combat obesity.

“We have a major health crisis on our hands with one in four Australian kids overweight or obese. As a doctor I’ve seen first-hand the health impact obesity has on kids’ health,” said Dr Di Natale who was a general practitioner and public health specialist before he entered politics.

“We know that up to 30 per cent of the sugar Australian kids consume daily comes from nutrition-free sugar-sweetened drinks. A tax on these drinks will drive down consumption and should form a part of the response to childhood obesity in this country.”

If the government doesn’t act, the Greens will introduce a Private Senator’s Bill to give effect to a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages into the Senate by the end of 2017.

“It’s clear that the government won’t step up to tackle childhood obesity head-on, so we will do it for them.”

“We call on the government and opposition to get behind this legislation to help protect our kids from a lifetime of chronic illness.”

This push by the Greens comes as countries around the world, from Ireland to the UK, Hungary to Mexico, are listening to the calls of health experts, researchers, doctors and the public to implement similar sugar-sweetened beverage taxes.

Today, the Grattan Institute launched a report titled ‘A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community costs of obesity’, which demonstrates that not only does obesity cause long- term problems for consumers but also imposes enormous costs on the broader community; from lower rates of employment and forgone taxes, to additional health and welfare expenses.

Background

• The Greens push is part of a broader preventative strategy for obesity, including

clear food labelling, restricting junk food advertising to children and encouraging physical activity through active transport. Read about the Greens’ policy here: http://greens.org.au/sugar-tax or download the two page initiative here. • A price increase of 20% on sugar sweetened drinks, or about 20 cents on a can of cola, is predicted to result in a 12% drop of in consumption - even higher for the

Received by Parl Library - 23 November 2016

highest consumers. This could reduce obesity rates by more than 1% nationwide and help to protect children and young people from a lifetime of obesity. • The Greens policy follows the general model used overseas, as follows: an excise equivalent to 20% of retail price levied on water-based beverages with more than 5g

of sugar per 100ml.

Note

Dr Di Natale will be holding a press conference today on this issue and further issues of the day in Parliament, Canberra. The Grattan Institute’s Stephen Duckett will be addressing the media directly after the Senator’s press conference.

The Senator is available for further comment.

Media contact

Matt Siegel - 0457 901 600 Cass Stafford - 0428 152 347