I would like make a suggestion to local councils right around Australia. If the science is to be believed, using a sunbeds and visiting a tanning salon increases your chances of developing skin cancer. It damages the skin and can cause eye damage. I therefore recommend that they increase the rates for properties where sunbeds and tanning salons operate. This money can be funnelled into public health initiatives.
I would also point out that alcoholics buy their alchohol from pubs, clubs, liquor stores and (in some states of Australia) supermarkets. Alcohol can lead to increased violence, can cause health issues such as liver damage or damage to a person’s brain. Therefore pubs, clubs, liquor stores and supermarkets that sell alcoholic beverages (take home or for on-site consumption) should pay higher rates to local councils. This money can be funnelled into public health initiatives.
Smoking is well known to increase the likelihood that someone will die from cancer, lung disease or a myriad of other health complications. There are even big pictures and warnings on the packets to show that this is the case. Therefore local councils should increase the rates for properties where tobacco products are sold. This would include corner stores, bars, supermarkets, specialist tobacconists, pub and clubs that have cigarette machines and many other outlets.
I’m not sure what the correct solution is if a place sells both alcohol and cigarettes. Perhaps they should have a larger increase.
By now you probably think I’ve fallen off my perch or that I’ve lost the plot. No one would ever suggest that slugging businesses with extra local council rates because of what they sell is a great idea. Well if you believe that, then you haven’t seen today’s Sun-Herald.
Darebin Council from Melbourne is looking a proposal from one of its councillors to charge McDonalds, KFC and other major fast food chains up to 400% more in rates. Apparently this is to “discourage” and “penalise” them and has been supported by the Obesity Policy Coalition and dietitian Rosemary Stanton.
Straight from the report on the Sun-Herald’s website:
Darebin councillor Gaetano Greco said council was investigating a rate slug to discourage and penalise major food outlets.
“Councils have the responsibility of looking after the health and wellbeing of their community,” he said yesterday.
“Here we are, looking at an extra tool that council can use to limit or control the spread of fast-food chain outlets,” Mr Greco said.
Councillors voted to explore the option as part of a wider campaign against Type 2 diabetes after they were told that using planning controls against the outlets would not work, the Preston Leader reports.
I call bullshit.
This is purely and simply a cash grab. Councils struggle to increase rates because they are scared of voter backlash. They can’t target businesses for no reason as it would be unfair and wouldn’t be allowed. But by claiming to want to safe the fatties by making themselves more cash, they can win public support for the idea. By targeting only the major fast food chains, they know the public won’t mind because the major fast food chains are seen as the evil scourge of society. Plus they can probably afford it, right?
This isn’t about fat people. This is about wanting to make money from the global fast food chains. If this was about fat people then a whole metric buttload of businesses would be in the firing line. Fish and chip shops, local take away shops, Chinese resturants, local burger joints, and so on. This is about money and money alone.
Secondly, fat people don’t need to be saved. We are not some sort of helpless group that can’t control themselves when they see the goldern arches or a bucket of fried chicken rotating around on a sign. This is about using the stigma that fat people experience every day and using it to whip up public support for the proposal. The idea that the bigotry I deal with as a fat person is being used to make people support a proposal makes me sick with rage.
There is so much wrong with this whole thing that I don’t even know where to begin. To be honest I don’t have the spoons to go through every detail and explain just how wrong this is, so I guess I’ll have to leave that to others to do. I wish I could say that I can’t believe that this is happening, but I can.
Also, Obesity Policy Coalition? What the fuck? I’ll have to do a second post on that later tonight…