Response to the proposed sugar tax

Professor Bruce Neal, Director of the Food Policy Division at The George Institute for Global Health, said:

"Australians are eating too much added sugar, with junk food and sugary drinks being a real problem area.

“In 2015 Australians bought over a billion litres of sugary drinks from supermarkets alone.  These drinks have no health benefits but by reducing consumption it could help prevent obesity and diabetes which are at epidemic levels in Australia.  Cutting back on sugar will save lives.

“Today's policy announcement by the Greens on taxing sugary drinks to tackle obesity is an important step in building awareness and support for various measures.  Just encouraging individuals to make healthier choices will likely be insufficient.  We need to help people with those choices by making the food environment supportive of the right decisions.

“The food industry spends many millions of dollars each year encouraging us to spend money on products loaded with sugar. We need a real counter to that and real discussion about how to limit sugar intake.  Just like with tobacco, where taxes were seen as part of the mix to reduce consumption, we need a system-wide and tailored approach for Australia in which all the appropriate policy tools and levers are looked at, particularly in terms of reducing the amount of sugar our children consume.”