Jamie Oliver challenges Australia to follow UK lead on sugar tax

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has praised the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks in the UK and urged other countries like Australia, Canada, and Germany to introduce similar taxes as a way to fight obesity.

Speaking in an online video, Oliver declared, “Pull your finger out Australia.”

“This is bold and brave and this will send ripples around the world as far as how these weak, pathetic governments combat the rise in childhood obesity and diet-related disease,” he added.

“It’s about time your governments got on this. I know you’re all talking about it but you’re all scared of industry.”

As News.com.au reports, the UK tax will come into effect in 2018 and is expected to raise up to $1 billion. It will divide sugary drinks into two categories, those containing more than five grams of sugar per 100 millilitres and those with more than eight grams per 100 millilitres and tax them accordingly.

The tax has received widespread praise in the UK.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said in a statement, “A sugary drinks levy is fabulous news for children and families in helping them to cut back on sugar.

“This will reduce the risks of obesity, tooth decay and other life threatening diseases. This is public health in action and a great foundation ahead of the child obesity strategy later this summer.”

However, judging by the reaction of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, Australia is unlikely to follow the UK’s lead.

 “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,” Ciobo told ABC TV.

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