Failure to introduce a sugary drink tax is no sweet deal

Dear Editor,

We need a tax on sugary drinks – it’s as simple as that.

Our state’s obesity epidemic is not slowing down and needs to be addressed.

Cancer Council Queensland has long called for initiatives to tackle obesity, which includes introducing a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks.

Sweetened beverages are a major source of sugar in the Australian diet. Young Australians are the highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and socially disadvantaged groups.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and cordial) have no nutritional value, provide excess energy, and lead to weight gain and obesity.

Obesity is an established risk factor for some cancers and other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

26 countries have raised the price of sugary drinks, and five more have pledged to do so in 2018 – yet Australia refuses to give up its sweet tooth.

The average Australian who drinks a 375ml can of sugary drink a day will consume around 14.6kg of sugar a year, or a 600ml bottle a day would equate to 23.3kg of sugar a year.

A tax on sugary drinks would encourage people to select cheaper and healthier options rather than consuming unhealthy beverages.

We urge all levels of Government to act now and introduce a tax on all sugary beverages, with taxes used to educate the community about healthy food and drink choices as part of a comprehensive approach to decreasing overweight and obesity.

We have a responsibility, together with community groups and health authorities, to facilitate healthy choices and limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.

Ms Chris McMillan
CEO, Cancer Council Queensland

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171