1 Introduction of a Sugar Tax in Australia Business Submission Courtney Rooney S5088957 Word Count

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Introduction of a Sugar
Tax in Australia

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Business Submission

Courtney Rooney
S5088957
Word Count: 1547

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Contents

The Public Health Association of Australia ………………………………………………….. 3
Introduction of a Sugar Tax ………………………………………….. ……………………………. 3
The Background of the Dietary-related disease ……………………………………………. 3
Children & Adolescents Intake ……………………………………………………………………. 4
Development in other Countries ………………………………………………………………….. 5
The Financial Impact ………………………………………….. ……………………………………… 5
The Effects of a Sugar Tax ………………………………………….. ……………………………… 6
Conclusion ………………………………………….. …………………………………………… ………… 6
References ………………………………………….. …………………………………………… ………… 7

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The Public Health Association of Australia
Identified as a non-governmental national organisat ion, the Public Health Association of
Australia (PHAA) advocates the health and welfare o f all Australians. Representing
over 40 professional groups in promoting better hea lth outcomes based on prevention
and the social determinants of health and equity pr inciples, the PHAA provide strong
support for the Australian Government in relation t o Preventative Health Taskforce and
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC ), in which strengthen their
research and actions across Australia. PHAA sees th at to be able to achieve the best
health outcomes for Australia, it needs to support agencies and government, to then be
able to continue in promoting key policy advice, or ganise seminars and public events as
well as target their advocacy goals through the med ia. (Who we are 2018).
Introduction of a Sugar Tax
This submission addresses an overall introduction o f a Sugar Tax in Australia. Reports
have shown that sugar is an “addictive drug” that h as been now acting as the “new
tobacco” around the globe. “Soft drinks being the f ocus on the sugar tax, and other
highly sweetened drinks such as cordial and fruit d rinks, provide a large amount of
added sugar (sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose a nd sugar syrups) that contain an extent
number of kilojoules but no nutrients.” ( What are the effects of consumption of high
sugar drinks? 2014). “There is 4.2 grams of sugar in just 1 teasp oon of sugar, a regular
soft drink has 64 grams of sugar, meaning that ther e are 15.2 teaspoons of sugar being
consumed from just one 600ml bottle. In large exces sive amounts, sugar causes poor
health issues such as tooth decay, overweight and o besity that leads to than heart
disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.” ( How much sugar? 2014). The PHAA and
other health professionals and health experts, agre e that the need for a sugar tax and the
need for the government and food and drink industri es to be on the same side is now.
The Background of the Dietary-related disease
Sugar has been part of our lives for centuries however throughout the years, the intake
of sugar has significantly increased. Similar to the tobacco industry, it has taken
significant time for the negative impacts of sugar to come in the public’s view. “Data
shows that in 2011-2012 Australians (aged over 2 ye ars) have over exceeded the World

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Health Organisations (WHO) recommendation to intake sugars less than 10% of their
total dietary energy, or additional 5% for their he alth benefit. The intake of 52% of
sugar was consumed from sugar sweetened beverages i n Australia.” (Consumption of
Added Sugars exceeds recommendations 2016). The idea however of a sugar tax is not
new, “since 2009 over 40 American states have small taxation measures on sugary
drinks.” (Brownell ; Frieden 2009, p. 1805). Now, Australia i s following these states
and other countries such as the UK whom have “a sug ar drink levy on drinks with more
than five grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.” The PHAA CEO Michael Moore stated
that they ” have been pushing for this levy for years…this is a great time for the
Government to review tax reform and how it could im prove the health of all Australians
while at the same time raise revenue .” (The time is right for a sugar tax on soft drinks
2016 ).
Children ; Adolescents Intake
Advertisements on television and other social media websites tend to make health
claims stating that soft drinks provide energy etc, are seemed to be aimed at children
and adolescents who not all can distinguish or resist what’s the truth and what’s reality.
“These sugared beverages have led to 10 to 15% of t he calories now consumed by
children and adolescents, meaning that overall a gl ass consumed per day increases the
chance of obesity by 60%.” (Brownell ; Frieden 2009 , pp. 1805-1806). “In 2007
Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physic al Activity Survey, showed reports
of girls not reaching their daily calcium nutrient requirement, this could be due to
sweetened beverages they are displacing milk in the ir diet.” (What are the effects of
consumption of high sugar drinks? 2014). “Childhood obesity is of particular concern as
overweight and obese children have a high chance of becoming obese adults and have
an increased risk of other health problems relating to the sugar-induced illness. Strong
support has been shown for the taxation on sugar-sw eetened drinks as being used as an
obesity-prevention strategy, will allow the communi ty, especially parents to make
informed decisions and judgements of the tax to add ress their children’s lifestyle and
reduce obesity. The taxation revenue would be used to promote healthier eating options
for not just the children but the whole family also , than public support would increase
also.” (Moretto et al. 2014, p. 2467).

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Development in other Countries
Countries overseas have enforced taxes on sugary dr inks to reduce demand for sugar
consumption, and reports show that it works. “Mexic o became the first country to
impose a tax on sugared-sweetened beverages which w as introduced in 2014. Latest
reports revealed a reduction in the purchase of sug ary drinks by 12% in the country and
has become very effective in reducing demand and su gar intake.” (Backholer et al.
2016, p. 3071). The levy starts in the UK in April this year, taxing the soft drink
industry for sugar content over 5g per 100ml and a higher tax on drinks containing more
than 8g sugar per 100ml. “This is estimated to raise around £520 million a year, which
will be spent on increasing funding sport in primar y schools.” (The 2018 UK Sugar Tax
2018). PHAA CEO Mr Moore stated that the “UK Govern ment in being committed by
making a stand on obesity and improving public health. Australia now has the ability to
look at this example and how Australia can utilise a similar sugar tax to target the
overall public health of the country.” (The time is right for a sugar tax on soft drinks
2016 ).
The Financial Impact
The popularity of obesity is from a socio-economic pattern being that those in “high-
income countries, individuals with a lower income, a lower education or who live in
more disadvantaged areas are at a higher risk for e xcess weight gain and obesity.”
(Backholer et al. 2016, p. 3070). Evidence has shown that people with “lower incomes
are more sensitive to price increases and are there fore more likely to change their
purchasing behaviour in response to price changes.” (Lal et al. 2017, p. 3). Being
immensely affected by “diet-related diseases, the p oor would acquire the greatest and
most benefit from the reduced consumption of sugare d-sweetened beverages as they are
not a necessary in life.” (Brownell ; Frieden 2009, p. 1806).
“The Australian Beverage Council have been fighting against a tax for years, stating
that there is “no evidence a tax will do anything to reduce obesity”. The Australasian
Association of Convenience Stores claimed that the introduction of the sugary-
sweetened beverage tax in the UK of being “lazy,” ” flawed,” “discriminatory” and
“irrational”, resulting them to campaign to prevent such a tax in Australia.” (Davey
2018). Health care costs is already “high and increasing to around $79 billion is spent

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annually for overweight and obesity alone,” which i s getting paid out of tax payers
expenses. (Brownell ; Frieden 2009, p. 1806). “Reve nue made should be used for
public health initiatives that aim to improve publi c health nutrition and population
health, particularly and overall for socioeconomica lly disadvantaged population sub-
groups.” (Health Levy on Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy Pos ition 2017)
The Effects of a Sugar Tax
Released early this year, The Guardian Essential po ll found that 53% were in favour of
a sugar tax on drinks in respondent to the 38% oppo sed. (Karp 2018). Tax had been
suggested that it requires to be “higher than 10% in order to change behaviour and have
a major impact on consumption. Although, small taxe s may not affect sales can be
adequate revenue used to fund public health activities.” (Moretto et al. 2014, p. 2468).
In the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diet etics had done a study that found
“sales of soft drinks at the Alfred Hospital in Mel bourne dropped by 27.6% during a 17-
week trial when the price of sugary drinks was incr eased by 20%. And bottles of water
had increased by almost the same amount.” (Davey 2018). “Taxes on tobacco have been
highly effective in reducing consumption, and data indicate that higher prices also
reduce soda consumption.” (Brownell ; Frieden 2009, p. 1806). Australia can make
decisions for themselves and isn’t a ‘nanny state’, however the “community needs
leadership from the Government to ensure appropriat e regulation is in place to
accommodate the tax and to be able to reduce the ex cessive amounts of sugar intake
amongst Australians.” (Health Levy on Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy Pos ition
2017 )
Conclusion
This submission has shown significant reports and e vidence that having a sugar tax
overseas has been able to work comfortably. In the interest of the Australian
community, health is the most important thing and s hould be exactly in the governments
interest as the health problems are continuing with the effects of sugar, similar to the
tobacco industry, it can no longer be ignored. To r educe sugar-induced illnesses such as
obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and o ther chronic diseases amongst
Australians, action must be taken. Exclusively havi ng a sugar tax is recommended and
is what the public needs.

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References
Bachholer, K, Sarink, D, Beauchamp, A, Keating, C, Loh, V, Ball, K, Martin, J, Peeters,
A 2016, ‘The impact of a tax on sugar-sweetened bev erages according to socio-
economic position: a systematic review of the evide nce’, Public Health Nutrition, vol.
19, no. 17, pp. 3070-3084, viewed 20 April 2018,
file:///C:/Users/Courtney&Nathan/Desktop/Year%202%2 0Trimester%201/Government
-Business%20Relations/Assignments/The_impact_of_a_tax_on_sugar-s.pdf
Brownell, K.D & Frieden, T.R 2009, ‘Ounces of Prevention – The Public Policy Case
for Taxes on Sugared Beverages’, The New England Journal of Medicine , vol. 360, no.
18, pp. 1805-8, viewed 20 April 2018,
https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp0902392
Consumption of Added Sugars exceeds recommendations 2016, Australian Health
Survey: Consumption of Added Sugars, viewed 20 Apri l 2018,
http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/58042B7FE6A65821CA2581F
4000D1020/$File/4364.0.55.011%20-%20australian%20he alth%20survey%20-
%20consumption%20of%20added%20sugars.pdf
Davey, M 2018, Health Experts support sugar tax as Coalition calls for ‘personal
responsibility, The Guardian, viewed 20 April 2018,
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan /08/health-experts-support-sugar-
tax-as-coalition-calls-for-personal-responsibility
Davey, M 2018, Sugar tax: why health experts want it but politicia ns and industry are
resisting, The Guardian, viewed 20 April 2018,
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan /10/sugar-tax-why-health-experts-
want-it-but-politicians-and-industry-are-resisting
Health Levy on Sugar Sweetened Beverage Policy Posi tion 2017, Public Health
Association of Australia, viewed 20 April 2018,
https://www.phaa.net.au/documents/item/2483
How much sugar? 2014, Australian Government department of Health, viewed 20 April
2018,
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publ ishing.nsf/Content/sugar-drinks-
toc~sugar-drinks-1-activities-games~sugar-drinks-1- 3-how-much

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Karp, P 2018, Most Australians want sugar tax on drinks – Guardia n Essential Poll,
The Guardian, viewed 20 April 2018,
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan /16/most-australians-want-sugar-
tax-on-drinks-guardian-essential-poll
Lal, A, Mantilla-Herrera A.M, Veerman, L, Bacholer, K, Sacks, G, Moodie, M,
Siahpush, M, Carter, R, Peeters, A 2017, ‘Modelled Health Benefits of a sugar
sweetened beverage tax across different socioeconom ic groups in Australia: A cost
effectiveness and equity analysis’, PLOS Medicine, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 1-17, viewed 20
April 2018,
file:///C:/Users/Courtney;Nathan/Desktop/Year%202%2 0Trimester%201/Government
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Moretto, N, Kendall, C, Whitty, J, Byrnes J, Hills, A.P, Gordon, L, Turkstra, E,
Scuffham, P, Comans T 2014, ‘Yes, The Government Sh ould Tax Soft Drinks: Findings
from a Citizens’ Jury in Australia’, International Journal of Environmental Research
and Public Health, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 2456-2471, viewed 20 April 2018 ,
file:///C:/Users/Courtney&Nathan/Desktop/Year%202%2 0Trimester%201/Government
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The time is right for a sugar tax on soft drinks 2016 , Public Health Association of
Australia, viewed 20 April 2018,
file:///C:/Users/Courtney&Nathan/Downloads/160317%2 0sugar%20tax%20on%20soft
%20drink.pdf
The 2018 UK Sugar Tax 2018, Diabetes.co.uk, viewed on 20 April 2018,
https://www.diabetes.co.uk/nutrition/2018-uk-sugar- tax.html
What are the effects of consumption of high sugar drinks? 2014, Australian Government
Department of Health, viewed 20 April 2018,
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publ ishing.nsf/Content/CA2578620005
D57ACA257B1C007C8ED0/$File/h_drinks_Fact%20Sheet_Ef fects%20of%20High%2
0Sugar%20Drinks_Final_web2.pdf
Who we are 2018, Public Health Association of Australia, view ed 20 April 2018,
https://www.phaa.net.au/about-us/who-we-are

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