Health

PM Malcolm Turnbull slaps down sugar tax, says we already have “enough taxes” to deal with

This comes as experts make an impassioned plea to the government in a bid to slash childhood obesity in Australia.
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Did you know that as many as 63.4 per cent of the Australian adult population are overweight? Worse still, one in four Aussie kids are overweight or obese.

It is these alarming figures that have prompted industry health experts and community groups to push for an eight-point plan to raise the tax on sugary drinks sold within Oz by 20 per cent.

Under the newly proposed sugar tax, which is backed by the Obesity Policy Coalition, Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation, Nutrition Australia and numerous universities, by mid-2019, there would be restrictions placed on junk food being advertised on TV, health star ratings placed on food labels, as well as the introduction of a nationwide obesity taskforce.

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And, according to Sky News, this is a conversation Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull just won’t have.

“I think we have enough taxes and there are enough imposts on us all when we go to the supermarket and we go shopping,” he said, speaking to the Nine Network this morning.

“The other thing is too where do you draw the line? There is a lot of sugar in a bottle of orange juice, are you going to put a tax on that?”

But as Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin stresses, if something isn’t done about Australia’s obesity problem, it will not only harm the health and welfare of the nation, but severely bruise the government’s health economy.

“The policies we have set out to tackle obesity therefore aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future,” she says.

The newly proposed obesity action plan

  • Time-based restrictions on TV junk food advertising to kids

  • Set clear food reformulation targets

  • Make the Health Star Rating mandatory by July 2019

  • Develop a national active transport strategy

  • Fund weight-related public education campaigns

  • Introduce a 20% health levy on sugary drinks

  • Establish a national obesity taskforce

  • Develop and monitor national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines.

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