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Australian government not to support tax on sugary drinks

| International retailers

The Australian government has publicly announced that it has no plans to support a tax on sugary drinks sold in the country, despite renewed demands from medical and health organisations for such a move.

In a statement, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) urged the government to institute such a tax, as part of overall efforts to improving dietary habits (such as restriction on ads to children, food literacy programmes, and food fortification) in an aim to reduce obesity.  The AMA claims more than half of Australians are at risk because of their body weight.

However, a spokesperson for the Health Minister noted: “We do not support a new tax on sugar to address this issue”. The spokesperson added that the government was making other moves, such as supporting new labelling laws.

The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) welcomed the Government’s stance, claiming that such taxes have failed in the past in other countries, and also led to job losses in the manufacturing and retailing industry. It added that its own “research in this area shows most Australians are opposed to a sugar tax on the basis it would pressure their budgets and threaten jobs. But while it obviously makes no political sense to pursue a sugar tax policy, the available evidence suggests it makes no health sense either”.

More than 26 countries across the country have put in place a ‘sugar tax’, worried about obesity levels, with several more set to institute such laws in 2018.

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