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Australian Sugar Tax Set to Save 1600 Lives and $400 Million

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on April 14, 2016

Australian Sugar Tax Set to Save 1600 Lives and $400 Million

A recent Australian study conducted by the Obesity Policy Coalition and the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health has found that a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could potentially save 1600 lives while raising $400 million in revenue.

The study is the first of its kind to model Australian population data to assess the outcome of introducing a sugary beverage tax. Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin, who co-wrote the study, advised that the introduction of the tax would have two major benefits:

“The tax at one end saves lives, improves quality of life, raises revenue and ultimately reduces healthcare costs.”

Much needed revenue when considering that obesity related illnesses are estimated at costing Australia more than $56 billion each year.

As prevention is the best the cure, in even better news, the study found that increasing the price of sugary beverages may lead to a 12.6 per cent reduction in their consumption. This is an important figure when considering that sweetened beverages are the largest contributors of added sugar in Australians’ diets.

In 2015 it was found that Australians purchased around 1.1 billion litres of sugary drinks at a total cost of $2.2 billion. This figure does not include sweet beverages purchased at fast-food outlets, vending machines and convenience stores.

The question now is whether Australia will follow the path of the United Kingdom who have recently announced that additional taxes will be charged to sugary beverages from 2018.

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