Should there be GST on meat? 209



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Talk around GST and whether it should be raised has been resurfacing as of late, now that parliament is ready to sit again next week. But there’s another suggestion about where tax could be added: meat.

According to Talia Raphaely, a sustainability policy lecturer at Curtin University and Dora Marinova, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, it’s something the government has overlooked thus far, but it makes sense.

They said, in an article on The Conversation, food has a special tax-exempt status in several countries around the world, including Australia but regardless of the level of tax charged on food, taxation systems universally fail to distinguish between different types of food (except sometimes in the case of infant foods). Simply put, taxes are blind to the differences between meat and other foods like fruit and vegetables.

They pose the debate that if we accept that taxes should also encourage or discourage certain behaviours, then we should question why meat is taxed (or exempted) at the same rate as fruit and veg.

The fact of the matter is that meat production and consumption impose environmental and health burdens on society. In essence, meat is impacting on us, so why shouldn’t it be taxed?

Raphaely and Marinova say that because tax revenue is used (among other things) to support public health care and to fund government-backed environmental initiatives, meat should be taxed accordingly.

Their research indicates that putting a 10 per cent or 15 per cent GST on meat would generate between A$3 billion and A$4 billion in extra income – so is it right?

We’re eating less fruit and vegetables than we need to, but double the red meat, so taxing meat could help nudge Australians in the healthier direction.

With that said, fruit and vegetables should then not be taxed, particularly if those tax revenues are destined for the public health sector, as eating vegetables already reduces healthcare costs.

The lecturers said that meat is a prime candidate for taxation because of its negative impacts. “By not taxing meat production and consumption appropriately, governments are in fact subsidising environmental and public health destruction – and meat tax could perhaps be one option on the table for this year’s Paris climate negotiations”, they said.


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  1. All based on biased assumption that meat is bad for us yet we need protein for so many health reasons just as we need vegetables. Both are required in a balanced diet. Vegetables also impact on the environment through massive land use, water consumption and fertilisers polluting the ground. No real foods should be taxed ever.

  2. In the article, there’s quite a good debate on why it should be taxed. Tell us what you think once read 🙂

    2 REPLY
    • I don’t eat a lot of meat because of price now….If taxed,this would cause me to buy even less….I think there are too many articles on what we can and can’t eat….which cuases confusion and lack of credibility… read the downside of coffee ,then another article on how it can prevent cancer….I say all foods in moderation…but let us choose….don’t make us choose because of price!!!!

    • There is NEVER a good debate on why healthy food should be taxed! Are the powers to be scared of the latest research that proves saturated fats are not our enemy because they are in “big pharma’s” pocket?

  3. No,we pay too much tax now,we are the highest taxed country in the world,if it keeps going we won’t be able to live at all

  4. Very poor excuse for taxing meat, if our GOVERNMENT had their way they would TAX everything and be done with it. Absolutely NOT.

  5. For goodness sake
    Some people have little to think about
    So the government pays these experts to think up these ideas I suppose

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