Jamie Oliver urges Australia to adopt a sugar tax

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With the UK announcing that it will introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks, outspoken celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is calling on Australia to “pull its finger out” and do the same.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that, in two years’ time, Britain will place a levy on drinks that contain five grams of sugar per 100 millilitres. The sugar tax is being introduced in an attempt to reduce the rapidly rising rate of childhood obesity in the UK.

“We all know one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity is sugary drinks,” said Chancellor Osborne. “I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation, ‘I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks. We knew it caused disease but we ducked the difficult decisions’.”

Jamie Oliver, a tireless activist for healthy eating, was both surprised and rapt by the announcement, quickly taking to social media to urge other countries to do the same.

“It’s about time your governments got on this,” he said. “Australia, pull your finger out.”

The UK’s sugar tax is expected to raise £UK520 million ($967 million) per year. With our own Government looking for ways to raise revenue, and especially considering that Australia is the world’s third-largest consumer of raw sugar, a sugar tax doesn’t seem such a bad idea. In fact, it could be a win-win for the economy and for the health of our nation.

Here’s a look at just how much sugar per 100ml is contained in many popular soft drinks:

  • Solo: 12.1g
  • Fanta: 11.2g
  • Red Bull: 11g
  • Bundaberg Ginger Beer: 10.8g
  • Coca Cola: 10.6g
  • Sprite: 10.1g
  • Vitamin Water: 5.49g
  • Lipton Ice Tea: 5.3g

The introduction of the tax is being delayed to allow soft drink manufacturers the time to change their product mix.

Whilst the Australian sugar industry is concerned that a tax such as this would be passed on to producers, it doesn’t seem too worried about a sugar tax being implemented in the near future.

“We are quite confident that there isn’t the political climate in Australia to have this tax introduced at this point in time,” said Canegrowers Queensland Chairman Paul Schembri.

Do you think a sugar tax is a good idea? Would you be prepared to pay more for your favourite soft drink?

Read more at www.abc.net.au

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 132
  1. 0

    The kids are not obese because they eat too much, they are just big boned!
    Put a tax on big bones.

    • 0

      It is a serious issue.

    • 0

      Evil idea.

      Most here can probably count on one hand the number of these drinks we have had in the last few decades. That doesn’t give us any natural right to adjudicate on what others can have. We would be better to let those who drink the rubbish decide.

      We would be better again explaining the dangers without the moralistic tone and then leaving people to drink what they please.

      Sugar is only one thing that contributes to obesity. Some may never eat anything with added sugar but eat carbohydrates excessively which turn to sugar. Will we tax bread next?

      Another thing is lack of exercise and that is certainly at fault here, too little exercise for the quantity of energy being taken in.

      Lets start an abstinence society. Shoot the sugar bootleggers. Teetotlers unite…no, better not risk that tanin intake. Another tax another wealth of wasted lives policing our zealously held righteousness.

    • 0

      Yes Mick, this definitely discrimination against big boned people!

  2. 0

    Yes, we should. However I would start with soft drinks and make it enough to actually sting. It should be on diet drinks too as they cause as much havoc to the body as sugar sodas. They need to include fruit drinks and over sugared milk drinks as well. The money earned could go towards the subsidising price of buying real fresh fruit.
    These drinks are addictive.

    • 0

      Ah Rosret, I see where you are going with this. By claiming something is addictive, you immediately raise a government department to supervise the addictive products and arrange for addicts to get their daily fix in a government approved tasting room. That will leave more money available for the addicts to buy fresh fruit.

    • 0

      Tax this, tax that, tax everything. Next some idiot will be suggesting the government tax the air we breathe.
      How about people forget about taxing everything and just encourage parents to get their kids outside and involved in some healthy activity rather than them sitting around playing computer games all the time? That is where the obesity stems from, that and too much take away food. Think back to the days when we were kids. We were rarely inside if the sun was shining, we were out doing stuff, building billycarts or making kites, kicking a football around or doing something with our friends. How many obese kids can you remember? Some kids might have been overweight but that was usually due to a medical condition, not because they were lazy and housebound.

    • 0

      Gra, Labor was taxing the air we breathe, not inhaling but exhaling. They called it a carbon tax.

  3. 0

    Yes, yes, tax on sugar and on SALT as well…I consume very little of
    those and I´m healthier than ever. There is enough sugar and salt
    already in fresh fruits and vegetables and any other food which is
    resourced from plants…Go vegan…good for every sentient beings and
    the Planet Earth which is an astronomic object not very well
    appreciated by humans…did I say humans?

  4. 0

    If they do put a tax on it should be on all sugar and artificial sweeteners.

    Sauces have a huge amount of sugar in them as have breakfast cereals, fruit and cereal health bars, fruit juices, wines etc.

    All need the tax not just soft drinks.

    • 0

      Artificial sweeteners are a lot worse than sugar on the bodies metabolism. You get rid of sugar in a few hours but artificial sweeteners can take days and sometimes weeks to get rid of.

    • 0

      Also add it to low fat options. They use sugar as a substitute.

    • 0

      I don’t ever use artificial sweeteners or fat free foods.

      In fact it was when fat free foods started appearing that obesity really took off.

    • 0

      Spot on Star Trekker and Rae.

      “Low fat” = more sugar, plus transfats that don’t require labelling. It’s a rort and an unhealthy one at that. Whole foods, with there natural fat content, are the much healthier option.

      Low fat foods started as a result of the lie that eating fats causes heart disease. We need (good) fats!

    • 0

      Yes Ray, they pushed us at WHOLE GRAINS, carbohydrate was the healthy way to eat. Now they are finding WHOLE Grains are producing diabetes. 15 years time they will be banning bread & pushing sugar.

      I am totally sick of half baked experts, sticking their noses into our lives, & others making a big quid from scare campaigns. Remember all the adds about cholesterol free. Now we find the cholesterol we eat is harmless, it’s the stuff we produce that may be a problem.

      For god’s sake, eat what you like, & enjoy today, tomorrow you may walk under a bus.

  5. 0

    Why not ban sugar, and salt, and bacon, and alcohol, and coffee, and whatever else! The only thing that are really detrimental to our health are fat cat politicians!

    • 0

      I”ll second that Aussiefrog.
      Why are they making ppl suffer, when its the large companies that put so much sugar in everything.
      I was buying lactose free milk there for a while. but it kept going off.
      it didn’t dawn on me for a while. but see NOT enough sugar in it to keep it for its self live, or perhaps it wasn’t being stored properly in the first place??
      Sugar to a degree stops everything from going off. Too bad they just can’t contain themselves, and only put in the required amount like they used to in the old days. but NO, because there is so much sugar in abundance, they are now overloading us.
      Hey but don’t forget, they are now also selling us Genetically Modified goods. Perhaps that is also a bit of a culprit. OH no they don’t want to go there. their excuse would be, but how do we feed the world if we don’t go that way……$$$$$its just really about the bucks….shakes head NOT health

    • 0

      We already have taxes on tobacco, alcohol and petrol to keep us all safer and healthier, so the precedent for a sugar tax already exists. Taken to the most extreme example, government could tax almost all food products and have us all living on bread and water.
      The pensioner debit cards issued to the welfare recipients in Ceduna South Australia that limit the amount of spending a card holder can use to purchase cigarettes and alcohol is another example of “Creeping Big Brotherism”.

      I wonder where it will all end.

  6. 0

    no tax just label all items with the number of spoons of sugar they contain

    • 0

      A picture with amount of sugar would be a better idea.

    • 0

      Yes chief,
      Make the label large to see at a glance.
      I wonder of it would affect my alcohol buying if it was introduced into the ‘less sugar campaign’.

    • 0

      Getting consumers to look at the labels on packaging is the tricky bit. People still buy cigarettes, in spite of the lurid pictures and health warnings on the packs. The hide and seek game of concealing the cigarette packs in cupboards, in my view, eliminates much of the impact of the health warnings might have on the buyers. Now the buyer asks for their preferred brand, pays for it and takes it away without looking at the message.

      Labels would only work on canned or bottled drinks. How would labelling work where soft drinks are sold as post mixes in pubs, clubs and certain fast food outlets where glasses and disposable containers may be used to hold drinks with different amounts of sugar in them?

  7. 0

    No more bl–dy taxes. We are being taxed to the hilt as is.

    • 0

      Sorry, Dot, we are one of the lowest taxed countries in the world! Its just the politicians wwho like to make us feel over-taxed to keep people angry at the other party — both parties play the game. Whichever is in government they carry on about making tax cuts to keep people on-side but by and large over time we still pay the same tax and we should. We want so much done by government, the money has to come from somewhwere.

    • 0

      Harry sorry the figures were released recently and we are the second highest taxed country in the world highest being uk
      And the ones that are even high like Denmark provide numerous free services to the ppl like education Childcare medical etc.

  8. 0

    they already tax every thing thats not nailed down then god knows where it goes into consolidated funds where they can hire helicopters and other waste of money they should hire a married couple to run the country they would do a better job

  9. 0

    Don’t tax sugar. Blame parents for not buying healthier options. Schools no longer have soft drinks in canteens.

    I shouldn’t be taxed on something I rarely use.

  10. 0

    NO!!! We have enough bloody taxes now. Educate your kids about sugar. Don,t buy em Rubbish loaded with sugar.

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