The Greens have announced a push to introduce a 20% tax on “all water-based beverages with more than five grams of sugar per 100ml”.
The LNP have said they will oppose any bill to implement a sugar tax in Australia, however the idea is gaining ground abroad.
Britain’s Conservative government have passed legislation for a sugar tax, to commence in 2018, and Mexico adopted a sugar tax in 2014.
The Grattan Institute released a report yesterday touting the potential for a sugar tax to raise $500 million whilst tackling obesity.
The sugar tax is a terrible proposal.
All consumption taxes are inherently regressive, a sugar tax would be especially so.
A consumption tax on something that people consume “equally” will account for a higher percentage of your income the lower your income is.
A sugar tax is even more regressive because people with lower incomes are more likely to consume soft drinks. The wealthiest are less likely to get their caffeine from Coca-Cola.
The $500 million that the Grattan Institute and The Greens propose to raise from a sugar tax will come disproportionately from the pockets of the working poor.
The Greens’ embrace of a sugar tax demonstrates their weakness when it comes to class issues. A sugar tax is a measure that essentially blames poor people for consuming soft drinks, whilst ignoring the fact that it is massively profitable soft drink manufacturers who produce and aggressively market these unhealthy products.
If soft drinks are a public health risk then it is soft drink manufacturers who should be penalized. The working poor hammer caffeine and sugar all day long because they are essential (if destructive) tools for getting through long days doing garbage low paid work.
The Greens are introducing a bill for a sugar tax. Pauline Hanson will be PM by the end of the decade. pic.twitter.com/z5KDOIr7Mk
— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) November 22, 2016