Posted on Monday, 25 May 2015
Given food security in many communities is a major problem, we need to look at sustainable funding models to address access, affordability and skills/knowledge. I propose an investigation of the feasibility and impact of taxing sugary drinks across Australia to fund programs which address these issues, with a particular emphasis upon targetting communities where healthy food is unaffordable for many families. Furthermore the money raised could be used to fund preventive nutrition programs which are currently funded in piece-meal adhoc fashions. We saw this work for tobacco in Australia, we can apply the same principles for nutrition.

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I don't think this needs an investigation, personally. I think it's one of those very few ideas that should just be implemented: Tax sugar, tax foods which are more processed, tax foods which have low nutritional value, have high levels of sugar and of high-density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol, but not the kind you get in avocados et al). Use the funds raised to subsidise healthy foods in rural, regional and remote communities and evidence-based health supports for all.

Fewer sugary drinks...thats going to reuslt in cost savings in the public dental sector!!

This could be implemented via the GST, applied to consumers at point of purchase. But unless we tackle the public health policy that allows remote stores to charge through the nose for poor quality produce, and commodity taxes that disadvantage people and businesses living and working remotely (eg: taxes on diesel fuel), it is likely to further disadvantage the poor and remote, geographically isolated. I would prefer an approach that held the supermarket duopoly accountable for doing their fair share. If they injected a small % of their profits into this cause, they may just strengthen their social license in rural and remote...but that would require them to care....

Agree, we could reduce demand and consumption of unhealthy foods by raising the price through taxation. But this should be implemented very carefully and simultaneously with lower prices and greater access to healthy food. Otherwise we run the risk of simply raising the cost of living and what are consumed as staple foods for some of Australia's most disadvantaged families.