Council of Superannuation Custodians “well worth reviving”: ALP

Council of Superannuation Custodians would be “well worth reviving”, says Labor, Jim ChalmersThe Council of Superannuation Custodians is “well worth reviving”, says Labor Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Jim Chalmers.

Dr Chalmers told the FSC/BT Political Breakfast that stakeholders often raised with him the issue of certainty in superannuation policy.

“I understand these concerns, especially given this Government’s shambolic approach to policy-making,” he said.

“Stability shouldn’t be a reason to do nothing at all. In my view stability is not the primary issue, it’s predictability. The real problem is a lack of clarity about the direction of change in the super system.”

“I understand when people say that it can feel like super policy-making jumps from one issue to another without concern for the broader effects on confidence in the system. I know that the shifting goalposts of super policy-making can be problematic for people moving into retirement or saving for their retirement.”

“That’s why it’s unfortunate that Labor’s proposal for a Council of Superannuation Custodians does not get the consideration it deserves.”

“Especially given all of the uncertainty at the moment, I think that the Council on Superannuation Custodians is a concept well worth reviving.”

The Council of Superannuation Custodians was a policy under the last Labor government, with the Council to “act as an impartial, expert superannuation body” in concert with the Charter of Superannuation Adequacy and Sustainability.

“The Council will be charged with assessing future policy against the Charter and providing a report to be tabled in Parliament. The Council will provide an annual report on the superannuation system against the Charter which will also be tabled in Parliament,” said the policy announcement.

Both the Council and the Charter were dropped by Coalition Government shortly after the 2013 election, a move which Dr Chalmers describes as “disappointing”.

Dr Chalmers said that a Council of Superannuation Custodians doesn’t mean the Government “exits the stage from superannuation”.

“The Government would retain its role of developing and implementing policies which go to the legislature, and to refer super policy ideas and priorities to the Council for consideration and analysis.”

“Nor does it mean that we take all the politics out of super. This isn’t desirable. A portfolio area this important should be debated vigorously by political parties.”

“But the hope is that the Council would help to deliver big changes which are considered and consultative, rather than ad hoc and developed in the weeks prior to the Budget.”

“It makes it more difficult for any Government to justify myopic, short-term changes where they have not been considered by the Council. By contrast, it would make it easier to justify good policy with the weight of the Council’s support behind a Government.”

“Ultimately, Labor sees the Council of Superannuation Custodians as a means of striking the balance between the needs of industry and consumers for stability, and the imperative of Government to address areas of improvement in the system.”

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