AFGC rejects Melbourne council’s proposal to increase rates for fast food outlets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th May 2012

The Australian Food and Grocery Council has rejected a Melbourne suburban municipal council’s proposal that could see major fast food outlets taxed up to 400 per cent more on their commercial rates than other businesses.

Darebin City Council’s proposal to charge major fast food companies higher rates hit national headlines in Australia this week.

According to local newspaper the Preston Leader, a report by Darebin council officers into a campaign against Type 2 diabetes found that a higher differential rate for fast-food chains could act to “curb the increase” of people developing diabetes.

However, the AFGC’s Acting Chief Executive Dr Geoffrey Annison said that Darebin Council’s rate penalty is “ill-conceived, impractical and would have no impact at all on obesity levels”.

Dr Annison said, “Proposals like Darebin Council’s are simplistic and add nothing to either the debate or the outcome. The Henry Tax review said differential taxation was a poor regulatory option for influencing food choice.

“If you were to go down that line, you would have to include a range of food outlets including supermarkets, petrol stations, bakeries, coffee shops, fish and chip outlets, and Thai, Indian and Pizza restaurants as they all sell fast ready-to-eat takeaway foods and not to do so would be inequitable.”