State KAP leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter has fears legislating against obesity with a sugar tax is an enormous oversimplification of the issue.
“The ‘Candy Crush’ Australians have with sugar is a serious health concern and needs to be addressed,’’ Mr Katter said.
“However, I don’t believe increasing the cost of living for all Australians with a sugar tax will provide the solution, using taxes as a form of a social engineering is a bit of a cop out when dealing with this problem.
“More health education around this issue is likely to have more cut through that just making new laws and slugging Queenslanders with new taxes.
“People need the opportunity and the support to make healthy decisions for themselves.
Mr Katter said North Queensland cane growers have been hit hard by the global down turn in prices, which was likely to continue for some time, partly due to the huge increases in sugar production around the world, specifically in India, Pakistan and Thailand.
“North Queensland cane growers are very resilient and will survive this downturn which is forecast to last a while yet,’’ he said.
“However, implementing a sugar tax at this time would place more unnecessary pressure on their businesses.
“The current price for sugar has just fallen well below 12 US cents a pound – which barely covers the costs of farmers.
“If we are serious about tackling obesity and other sugar related health issues such as diabetes, we need to look at the bigger picture, not just invent a new tax.’’
“I’ve spoken to canegrowers in Queensland and they don’t believe a tax is the solution and they are don’t see Australia as a growth market for them. Their focus is on overseas where 85 per cent of their product is exported.
“I think we would all like to see more sensible discussion take place on this health issue.’’