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Health leaders call for 20% sugar tax

Public health advocates meeting in Parliament House will call for a 20 per cent levy on sugar sweetened beverages as part of a broader list of 10 health priorities for Australia.

Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor of the University of Canberra will launch Getting Australia’s Health on Track – a policy report for a healthier Australia.

The event is hosted by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) together with the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA). Also speaking are Ministers Gillespie, King and Senator Di Natale.

Getting Australia’s Health on Track was developed by a national collaboration of 70 leading chronic disease experts and organisations who have also worked together on the related Australia’s Health Tracker. Australia’s Health Tracker, a national chronic disease report card was launched in July this year. Recently, the second phase of this work Australia’s Health Tracker by Area launched, providing localised data and reports on chronic diseases.

Now this work enters its third phase – Getting Australia’s Health on Track – which outlines a suite of policies that will help address the problems revealed in the Tracker data sets.

“Currently, less than 1.5 per cent of spending is dedicated to prevention. One in two Australians are now living with a chronic disease; we must take preventative actions now for a healthier future,” commented Rosemary Calder, Director AHPC.

“These 10 priority policy actions are more than health policies and offer significant social and economic benefits for Australia. Australia’s Health Tracker reveals some of the nation’s greatest health challenges – now here is a list of some of the best solutions.”

Apart from the sugar tax, the priority policy actions are:

HEALTHIER DIETS: Protect children and young people from unhealthy food and beverage TV marketing;

REDUCE SMOKING: Enhance media campaigns to reduce smoking;

REDUCE SMOKING: Reduce health and mortality disparities in disadvantaged populations caused by smoking;

INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Invest in active travel initiatives to and from school to kickstart a national physical activity plan;

REDUCE HARM FROM ALCOHOL: Consistent volumetric tax on alcohol products and increase current tax rate;

IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH: Scale up supported vocational programs for people with a mental illness;

REDUCE BIOMEDICAL RISK: Reduce salt content in processed foods and meals to decrease the risks of high blood pressure;

REDUCE BIOMEDICAL RISK: Scale up primary care capacity in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular risks;

MONITOR HEALTH: Invest in comprehensive national measurement and monitoring of chronic diseases and their risk factors in the population over time.

 

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