Policy report

Fat chance: why sugar taxes won't work

22 Jan 2018

Does a case exist for a “sugar tax”?

The Greens, the Australian Medical Association and various other public health enthusiasts from around the world say it does. The MRC commissioned the economists at Cadence to investigate the veracity of the research behind this proposal. Five papers from Australia and one from Mexico, all published in the past two years, were analysed. Their findings were underwhelming, to say the least. We also found that where the tax had been implemented overseas, there was little or no effect on consumption or public health.

It would be easy to dismiss this proposal as the preoccupation of fringe zealots, easily ignored, especially given that the two major political parties in Australia have ruled it out. But these proposals have an irritating habit of not only persisting but also becoming accepted, as we’ve seen in the energy and environmental sectors.

This report will hopefully prevent this proposed sugar tax being implemented, and allow consumers to  retain the right to make their own decisions regarding their health and wellbeing.

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