KAP warns Government on sugar (tax) addiction
4th February 2022
A campaign launched by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) agitating for the Australian government to put a tax on sugar has been met with heavy criticism by Katter’s Australian Party Deputy Leader and Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto MP.
The AMA’s social media campaign is the latest push by the doctor’s lobby group to sway public support in favour of a “sin tax” on soft drinks and fruit juices.
The AMA’s plan would add 20 per cent to a can of soft drink.
The KAP Deputy Leader said the AMA would have to be off their heads if they thought the Australian public was in the mood for another tax, and that the AMA’s suggestion that people ‘could just drink water’ shows they are out of touch with the Australian public.
“With the cost of living already going through the roof, rents are as high as they’ve ever been, and we’ve got an interest rate rise around the corner, what is the AMA thinking by trying this on?” Mr Dametto asked.
The Hinchinbrook MP said Australian consumers were tired of bearing the brunt of out-of-control government spending, and was wary of giving governments another opportunity to tax the nation’s shopping trollies.
“Once governments realise they can get away with additional taxes on a can of soft-drink they’ll start looking at other things in the trolley” he said.
“When you start taxing food, and claiming public health benefits for doing it, there’s really no stopping what will be taxed.
“Tea, coffee, red meat, pasta – nothing will be off limits.
“In Europe they actually started with sugar taxes and now they tax cooking oil.”
Mr Dametto cited alcohol taxation as an example of what would happen if governments got their hands on soft drink taxes.
“There have been 71 consecutive increases in taxes on alcohol,” he said.
“Taxes on alcohol take out $6 billion from the pockets of consumers.
“At more than $2 a litre, taxes add $20 to the cost of a slab of beer.”
Mr Dametto said what goes into people’s mouths should be personal choice and while he encouraged people to make better health choices, stated the calorific intake of someone that sits behind a desk all day should be a lot less than someone working a laborious role.
“Someone who is burning a lot of calories per day should not be financially penalised because some people make bad health choices and need to be deterred from sugar,” he said.
“The AMA have really scraped the bottom of the barrel when trying to find relevance and should stick to their core business of lobbying the government to fund public health services and campaigns better than trying to line up a hip-pocket tax at the check-out.”