'It makes sense': Does Australia need to introduce a sugar tax?

Australia is facing renewed calls for a sugar tax after new research showed that sugary drinks can cause type two diabetes, irrespective of obesity or weight gain.

A 40,000-strong study reiterated the point that women face a higher risk of developing diabetes than men but also suggested skinny people who binge on sugary drinks are far from immune from developing the condition.

While roughly 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, it’s estimated a further 500,000 have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Given the condemning research, experts are now demanding Australia follow Europe’s lead and introduce a tax on sugary beverages.

There are renewed calls for Australia to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Source: Getty Images
The Hot Topic divided Sunrise guests Nicholas MaCallum and Chris Smith. Source: Sunrise

“All the medical data shows that your soft drinks, which often contain 10 or 11 teaspoons of sugar per unit, they are contributing to young people's diabetes and their obesity problems,” Radio 2GB host Chris Smith told Sunrise.

“I cannot see why we would not apply some sort of tax on a soft drinks that multinationals can pay for. After all, this obesity, these health problems, transform into the cost to the taxpayer later on in life.”

While Sunrise host Sam Armytage echoed calls for a soft drink tax, 7 News reporter Nick MaCallum said rather than a sugar tax, money should be spent on reducing the cost of fresh produce and bottled water.

Vegetables and lean meat, the money that you put into the subsidies will come back at you and reduced health costs. It is a much more positive way to do it.

Mr Oliver believes a sugar tax is one way of trying to curb child hood obesity. Photo: AAP

Earlier this year, Jamie Oliver told 7 News it's only a matter of time before a sugar tax is slapped on soft drink and confectionary in Australia following Europe's lead.

"It'll happen because it's rolling now," he said.

"Australia, pull your finger out.

"No one likes tax - they think it's regressive but this is a progressive idea."

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