Australia should consider following the UK in introducing a sugar levy on soft drinks as part of an obesity-prevention package, health experts say.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver went further, telling the Australian government to "pull its finger out" and follow suit, describing the UK move as "bold and brave".
But Trade Minister Steve Ciobo says he's not a fan of the tax, while the Australian Beverages Council says it's another step in the wrong direction to end the global obesity epidemic.
Britain will introduce the levy in two years in a bid to tackle the obesity problem, applying it to drinks with a total sugar content above 5 grams per 100ml, with a higher band for even more sugary drinks.
It joins France, Belgium, Hungary and Mexico which have imposed some form of tax on drinks with added sugar, while Scandinavian countries have levied similar taxes, with varying degrees of success, for many years.
National Heart Foundation of Australia's CEO, Professor Garry Jennings, said the government needed to take "decisive policy action" to tackle the country's growing obesity crisis.
That included exploring options for a "health levy" on sugar-sweetened beverages, with funds raised earmarked to health promotion.
Dr Christina Pollard, from Curtain University's school of public health, said taxation sent a strong message to manufacturers, retailers and the general public about the health risks of certain types of foods.
"We need to make healthy food more affordable than junk food," she said.
Deakin University's Professor Anna Peeter said evidence from Mexico suggested that a well-designed sugary drinks tax was likely to reduce consumption of sugary drinks across the population.
"Taxes such as the one proposed by the UK are likely to have the additional benefit of promoting reformulation by the beverages industry," she said.
"The public health consensus is that introducing a sugary drinks tax in Australia is an important piece of a comprehensive obesity prevention approach."
Oliver, an outspoken campaigner against childhood obesity, posted a message on his Facebook page imploring other governments, including Australia, to follow suit.
But Minister Ciobo played down the prospects of Australia introducing the tax.
"If you ask what's my personal view, I'm not a fan of that, I think the more you get in and distort these types of things, the more government causes havoc across the system," he told ABC TV.
Australian Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker said there was no evidence globally that a soft-drink tax had any impact on obesity rates.
"Soft drinks can absolutely be enjoyed in moderation," he said.
"Food and beverage consumption is a personal choice, not a revenue raiser."