Citizens’ Jury in Australia supports a tax on soft drinks

Citizens’ Juries are helpful in determining community views. They are made up of community members and involve the provision of expert information from sources pertinent to the topic under consideration as well as any source the Jury identifies as required for their deliberation on the issue. Jurors consider the expert information and deliberate on the issue(s) during the course of the Citizens’ Jury, which is typically two or more days.

The paper Yes, The Government Should Tax Soft Drinks: Findings from a Citizens’ Jury in Australia reports on findings from a Citizens’ Jury held in¬†Queensland, Australia¬†in 2013.

The Jury unanimously agreed that a tax on sugary drinks would be an acceptable legislative measure to change consumer behaviour and assist in addressing childhood obesity in Australia. However, there was lack of support for tax related reforms for food products. The Jury recognised that taxation alone cannot fully address childhood obesity and that additional strategies including front-of-pack labelling and education-based strategies are essential. There was also support for further research in the area of childhood obesity prevention.

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