On 30 April 2018, an episode of Four Corners explored the relationship between sugar and obesity, and the case for a sugar tax in Australia. Mr Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council was interviewed by the program and asked about the efficacy of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and the industry’s efforts to promote healthier lifestyles.
‘The airing of the Four Corners episode is part of a concerted effort which principally calls for the introduction of a Greens-led tax on sugar-sweetened beverages despite a distinct lack of credible evidence to suggest such taxes achieve their intended outcome of reducing obesity,’ said Mr Parker.
The episode followed the introduction of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy on 6 April 2018.
The Australian Beverages Council acknowledges that Australia’s soaring obesity problem requires a range of measures to be developed by government, NGOs, health advocates and the food and beverage industry.
Mr Parker said the obesity problem is a serious and complex problem which demands a strategic, multifaceted approach to address it.
‘The beverages industry has already taken action to reduce sugar from beverages, in the absence of a discriminatory and regressive tax. Many of our Members have reformulated a range of products to reduce sugar content while introducing smaller pack sizes and promoting responsible consumption.’
The Australian Beverages Council reaffirmed its commitment to work with key stakeholders on an evidence-based approach to address obesity and chronic disease.
‘We have advocated on behalf of our Member organisations for many decades, just as other peak bodies do for their Members, including public health groups.’
‘The Australian Beverages Council will continue to liaise in an open and transparent manner with a number of stakeholders on a number of issues to advance the collective interests of the non-alcoholic beverages industry. These broad topics include taxes, container deposit schemes, front-of-pack labelling and county of origin labelling, to name just a few,’ said Mr Parker.
‘Using the taxation system to fix diet-related disease is illogical and we know that it will not achieve its ultimate goal. The only certain aspects of a sugar tax are that it will hurt consumers and cause irreversible economic and social damage to communities across the country which benefit from the non-alcoholic beverages industry,’ concluded Mr Parker.
Mr Geoff Parker is available for interview about the efficacy of sugar taxes and the economic contribution the non-alcoholic beverages industry makes to the Australian economy.
Australian Beverages Council
The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body representing the collective interests of the non-alcoholic beverages industry. We strive to advance the industry as a whole, as well as successfully represent the range of beverages produced by our members. These include carbonated regular and diet soft drinks, energy drinks, sports and isotonic drinks, bottled and packaged waters, fruit juice and fruit drinks, cordials, iced teas, and ready-to-drink coffees.
The unified voice of the Australian Beverages Council offers our members a presence beyond individual representation in order to promote fairness in the standards, regulations, and policies concerning non-alcoholic beverages.
The Australian Beverages Council introduced a dedicated juice division, Fruit Juice Australia (FJA), in 2009 and a dedicated water division, the Australasian Bottled Water Institute (ABWI), in 2011. Through these, our organisation, and its relevance and impact continue to grow.
For further information or to speak with Geoff Parker, CEO, Australian Beverages Council:
Australian Beverages Council
T: 02 8313 7760
M: 0420 736 136