24 November 2005

Beazley Super Plan a Risk to Savings Security

Kim Beazley's move to steal the retirement savings of Australians to pay for his pet infrastructure projects represents a real risk to retirement funds, Federal Assistant Treasurer Mal Brough said today.

Beazley has used his fourth blueprint speech to declare Labor would link the $740 billion in the nation's superannuation funds with infrastructure projects.

Mr Brough said 80 per cent of superannuation assets were already invested in Australia with a considerable portion already being invested in infrastructure vehicles based on the appropriate balance between risk and performance .

Beazley misses the point that the $740 million in superannuation funds is not idle it is invested and any move to distort the investment market is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul - where clearly the sorts of pet projects Kim Beazley has in mind can't attract the funds on their merits, Mr Brough said.

Superannuation funds are for the nest eggs for Australians' retirement not cash cows for Beazley's pet projects.

If a project is commercially viable and can provide suitable returns, then trustees might consider investing.  

But it would be foolish for Kim Beazley - whose record of financial management as a former Finance Minister is deplorable - to interfere in the decision making of trustees to risk the hard-earned savings fund members on projects which may not be financially viable. 

Mr Brough said: "We are seeing considerable growth in super savings because people are increasingly more involved in their investment choices and are satisfied that we have in place reasonable protections for their nest egg. The threat of Labor politicians taking that money for fad projects will only set back member confidence. 

If Beazley wants to do something to boost Australian infrastructure then he should urge his state Labor colleagues to remove impediments that they have placed on private and public infrastructure development, he said.