SEVERAL Federal politicians and a local dietician are calling for a tax on sugar to help tackle obesity.
Liberal backbenchers Russell Broadbent and George Christensen both called for a sugar tax in Federal Parliament this month, while Hardy Nutrition Dietary Consulting dietician Megan Hardy said she supported the tax, similarly to what has been done with cigarettes.
Mr Broadbent said a tax on sugar would help tackle the obesity issue, especially among children and that money from the tax could go back into funding sports facilitates.
“We do it with cigarettes now. We do it with other things. We do it with alcohol,” he said.
“Sugar is a major trauma for this country, and we need to address it very seriously. I call on the Government to inquire into the probability or possibility of a sugar tax in this country to benefit our generations.”
LiveLighter’s campaign director Maria Szybiak said more than half of all Australians exceed the recommendations for added sugar intake, and more than half came from drinking sugary drinks.
Ms Hardy agreed.
“If it is part of the daily intake then it is going to impact their back pocket,” she said.
“Hopefully in time we start to see reduction of sugary drinks and beverages an increase in improving health overall.”
Ms Szybiak said a tax on sugary drinks would send a clear message to the public about the health risks associated with drinking too many sugary drinks, too often.
“Sugary drinks are marketed as part of an everyday diet, available everywhere and often cheaper than bottled water – all factors contributing to high levels of consumption, and associated weight gain,” she said
Ms Hardy said people readily raised concerns that eating healthy is too expensive.
“It’s up to the individual to make that effort,” she said.
“We are seeing a big movement change to infused water add in a couple of slices of orange or lemon.”
She said sugary drinks ranged from a variety of different drinks including flavoured milks, vitamin waters, sports drinks, soft drinks and iced tea.