GREENS SUGAR TAX (GST) AN ATTACK ON REGIONAL JOBS
The Greens Sugar Tax announced today is an attack on 40,000 regional jobs, with no evidence it would improve the health of Australians according to industry groups representing Australia’s sugar growers, millers and processors.
The farmers’ group CANEGROWERS, Australian Sugar Milling Council, National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Food and Grocery Council said the tax proposed by the Greens was ill-conceived, regressive and would falsely demonise sugar as the cause of problems related to overweight and obesity.
The research quoted by the Greens today in support of their new GST is based on a mathematical calculation, but that’s not the reality of how humans eat, live or behave. It found that after 25 years the impact of the tax they’ve proposed would be an average weight loss in Australian males of only 300 grams, which is virtually nothing. Over the same period the tax would raise $10 billion.
The sugar industry is a vital employer in regional towns and cities from Grafton in northern New South Wales to Mossman in far north Queensland.
CANEGROWERS Chairman, Paul Schembri, said that a sugar tax would have a massive negative reputational effect on the 4,000 cane farming businesses in the two states.
“A sugar tax is a simplistic solution to a complex problem,” he said. “Targeting any particular food product is not in itself going to be the solution to Australia’s overweight and obesity issues, instead we need to continue to focus on the totality of health and wellbeing.”
“The sugar industry provides good stable jobs with a future for our kids and in a highly competitive global market. We export over 80% of our product without government subsidy and we are asking not to be hamstrung by more government taxes,” he said.
“We welcome the major parties’ continued support to the sugar industry by opposing an indiscriminate tax,” said Mr Schembri.
Mr Dominic Nolan, CEO Australian Sugar Milling Council, said that the sugar industry is synonymous with the economic growth of regional economies located up and down Australia’s east coast, and a sugar tax like the one proposed by the Greens would have a significantly negative effect on the broader food sector while also impacting consumers at the checkout by pushing up prices.
This is simply a tax grab by the Greens – another GST dressed up as a public health measure. Regional Australia cannot afford another hit on a vital industry that employs thousands of Australians.
Canegrowers: Neroli Roocke 07 3864 6435
Australian Sugar Milling Council: Dominic Nolan 07 3231 5000
National Farmers Federation: Stacey Wordsworth 0438 394 371
Australian Food and Grocery Council: James Mathews 0407 416 002