Media release

AMA welcomes sickly sweet sugar tax calls

Australia should introduce a tax on sugary drinks to help combat obesity and diabetes according to the Australian Medical Association, in a call backed by a new report from the Grattan Institute.

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AMA President Professor Steve Robson welcomed the Grattan Institute’s report, which once again shows how targeted sugar taxes work to reduce the amount of sugar in many of our most commonly sold drinks.  

“Sugary drinks make us sick, and we know this is a huge health problem for Australia,” Professor Robson said.

“Sugar hides in a lot of drinks and we don't realise the huge quantities we are actually consuming it’s not always immediately apparent.

“And as was exposed recently, while manufacturers bombard consumers with messaging suggesting they are reducing sugar content, they are in fact increasing sugar content in some drinks.”

The Grattan Institute joins a long list of leading public health groups in calling for the introduction of a sugar tax.

The AMA’s #SicklySweet campaign and pre-budget submission highlights that a tax on sugary drinks will help tackle obesity and other preventable chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.

“Our own modelling backs up today’s report, showing we can prevent thousands of cases of diabetes if we act,” Professor Robson said.

The AMA’s modelling also suggests a sugar tax could result in government revenue of $4 billion across four years, which could be used to fund further preventative health activities. 

“Of course, this revenue is above and beyond the burden and cost we could save the health system. Anything we can do to lessen the strain on our health system, particularly while our hospitals are in logjam, is critical. That’s why I’m pleased to see Grattan join us in this fight,” Professor Robson said.

“The World Health Organization has called for this and there are already more than 100 countries and jurisdictions that have acted and introduced sugar taxes. If we want to see industry reformulate their products in Australia and we want a healthier society, then now is the time to act.”

Read more about AMA’s Sickly-Sweet campaign

Read the AMA’s Budget Submission


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