31 January 2019

Government committed to superannuation reform

In a surprising turnaround, Shadow Minister for Financial Services Clare O’Neil has called for superannuation reforms to help protect members while addressing the Superannuation Chair Forum in Victoria yesterday, despite Labor blocking the Coalition Government’s superannuation reforms, which do exactly that, for years.

While the Coalition has been leading the charge to enhance Australia’s superannuation system, the Labor Party has actively worked to undermine the significant reforms proposed by the Government. Up until now, Labor has directly lobbied crossbench Senators against the Government’s legislation and has proposed amendments to undermine the intent and effectiveness of protections for workers in the following legislation:

  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2018
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 2) Bill 2017

I’m pleased the Labor party finally acknowledge genuine superannuation reform is critically needed, and backs a view already widely held in the community and by the likes of the Productivity Commission and the Grattan Institute.

Despite Ms O’Neil saying “A Shorten Labor Government will not stand by while millions of Australian have their savings eaten up by … fee gouging” the Labor Party have previously refused to support the Government’s reforms.

The Government’s Protecting Your Superannuation Package caps fees for low balance accounts ($6,000 or less) at 3 per cent and bans exit fees as well as ensuring members don’t pay expensive premiums for insurance they didn’t ask for or can’t claim on, to prevent account erosion.

Member Outcomes No. 1 strengthens trustee responsibilities and provides the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) stronger powers to revoke MySuper authorisations.

Member Outcomes No. 2 provides more Australians choice of fund, and closes a loophole that allows unscrupulous employers to reduce their superannuation guarantee payments for employees who have chosen to salary sacrifice to boost their savings.

I acknowledge the work of the former Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, on these important superannuation reforms.

Now that Labor has finally admitted Australians need superannuation reforms, I call on Bill Shorten and the Labor party to walk the talk and support the Government’s reforms that would save millions of Australians from billions of dollars being eroded from their retirement savings.