7 January, 2018
Beverage industry responds to AMA calls for a soft drinks tax
The Australian Beverages Council, representing the nation’s non-alcoholic beverage industry, has today released the following statement in response to calls from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages:
“It’s disappointing that in 2018 with both the Government and Opposition rejecting the idea, that the AMA continues to promulgate a tax as a solution to the nation’s expanding waistline. This type of measure lacks any evidence anywhere in the world that it has any discernible impact on public health” said Mr. Geoff Parker, Beverage Council’s CEO.
“The Mexico tax, often billed as a success, has had no impact on obesity rates. In fact a recent Government survey showed obesity rates were rising, particularly in women. Mexican Treasury Data collecting the tax from the sales shows an initial dip in consumption in the first year of the tax, with sales rebounding year after year since. If the AMA are hanging their hat on Mexico’s alleged success whilst ignoring actual Government data, it shows there’s been little rigorous consideration of this proposal.
“What proponents of a tax want to have happen – that is people drink more water and other no kilojoule beverages, is actually already happening and has been for the last 20 years. Over that time there’s been a fundamental shift away from regular sugar soft drinks in favour of no kilojoule options, including water, which remains by far and away the drink of choice for both children and adults. Today three of the top four selling softs are no sugar and a look in any fridge or supermarket aisle would attest to the proliferation of no sugar varieties available. And during that time, the sugar contribution per person from soft drinks has decreased by 26%.
“Australians don’t need another tax on their weekly shopping or what’s in their fridge more than what they already have with the GST, which provides a price differential in favour of unprocessed foods and drinks. In 2018 we need to be having a more mature and informed debate about how we as a society, including industry, can develop a sustained and evidence-based approach to tackling this really complex problem” said Mr. Parker.
For more information contact:
Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, M: 0407 646 195