Australian food tax plan not good for farmers or families

Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has raised serious concern over recent suggestions to apply the Goods and Services Tax to the sale of fresh food.

NFF CEO Simon Talbot believes the GST exemption for fresh foods should be retained, saying the move would have a negative impact on the welfare of Australian farmers and Australian families.

“No-one understands better than farmers the importance of fresh food. The NFF understands budget pressure. But we also understand the reality of family budgets,” Mr Talbot said.

“We want Australians to eat more fresh food, not less. Increasing the cost of food could mean consumers demand less fresh fruit, vegetables and protein, leading to a decrease in overall sales and poorer health outcomes.

“The reality is that the retailers aren’t going to forego profit. This means that farmers are likely to be forced to absorb the increase in costs. They are not able to pass on their costs.

“Unhealthy eating is the greatest factor affecting the burden of disease in Australia. Obesity, diabetes and nutritional deficiencies are all increasing problems; and they are costly ones.

“From our viewpoint, it makes no sense to increase the cost of fresh food. After all, Australians need greater incentives to eat healthily, not disincentives,” Mr Talbot said.

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