Media Release
10 January 2014
Soft drink taxes are ineffective and will hit the back-pocket of Australian families
The Australian Beverages Council has today responded to the proposed tax on soft drinks, saying a tax on beverages would be ineffective to combat obesity.“The industry opposes discriminatory and regressive measures such as taxing specific products, or in this case a single nutrient – sugar, as a means to combat overweight and obesity,” said the Council’s CEO Geoff Parker. “Time and time again analysis of a sugar tax has shown the proposal to be bad policy. The Henry Tax Review rejected the idea, and the failure of similar taxes overseas has shown such a tax does little to change consumer behaviour but has cost food and beverage manufacturing jobs” said Mr Parker.

The non-alcoholic beverages industry has long recognised it has a role to play, along with other stakeholders, in addressing the complex and multi-factorial issues of overweight and obesity. For close to a decade the industry has not marketed regular kilojoule products to children under 12, has reformulated products to offer low and no-sugar varieties, has voluntarily displayed kilojoule information on the front of labels and has restricted sales of regular kilojoule soft drinks in schools. “Taxes don’t teach healthy lifestyles; if we want a healthier country, we need better education about exercise and balanced diets.”  The fact that three of the top four biggest selling soft drinks in Australia are now zero or low kilojoule shows that companies are taking significant action through innovation, reformulation and other initiatives to adapt to Australian’s changing lifestyles. Another tax on families would not be able to deliver this. “We already have a GST which applies to processed foods, the last thing Australian families need is another tax on their supermarket trolley goods,” Mr Parker said.

Media contact:
Geoff Parker – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council
+61 (0)407 646 195
The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body for the $7 billion non-alcoholic beverages industry.
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