Government’s superannuation changes “not dead”, says Minister

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Three of the Government’s superannuation Bills are “certainly not dead”, says Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer.

The Government delayed the Bills on Tuesday after it failed to get crossbench support for the governance, reporting and choice of fund changes. This pushes these key parts of the Government’s superannuation agenda into 2018.

Minister O’Dwyer said on ABC’s AM program that the changes weren’t dead. “The Government remains absolutely committed to making sure that members know exactly how their superannuation money is being spent.”

“The crossbench was subject to a really ferocious campaign that wanted to hide exactly how these payments are being made and, under sustained pressure, we decided that it would make more sense for the Government to debate these issues early in the new year.”

“But unfortunately, I mean we could have dealt with it this year if Labor and the Greens had put aside their own vested interests and instead put the everyday Australian front and centre and said, yep, you have a right to know how your money is being spent.”

“You have a right to have your money protected. It shouldn’t be used as part of a slush fund, whether it’s for a union or an employer group or anyone else. It is your money, it should be protected, and that was all that the Government was doing with its changes.”

Reportedly the Xenophon Team Senators were the key swing votes, and supported the transparency measures but not the governance changes – including the minimum one-third independent directors.

Minister O’Dwyer denied that the changes were aimed an industry funds, saying that measures apply across the industry.

“It wasn’t targeting industry funds, it applied to industry funds but it also equally applied to retail funds, so bank-owned superannuation funds, corporate funds as well.”

Labor has proposed an amendment to include Choice super products in the new annual MySuper outcomes assessment reporting contained in one of the Bills.

Industry Super Australia says the Bills are significantly flawed and “DO NOT” result in consistent outcomes across the typically industry MySuper super funds and generally retail Choice funds.

“The Senate recognised many of the Government’s super proposals were not even handed and advantaged retail and bank-owned super funds, potentially leaving their members in the dark about fees, costs, dividends, and unexplained underperformance,” said Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley.

“The withdrawal of these Bills presents the Government with an opportunity to put political partisanship aside and work with the entire superannuation sector to develop an even-handed approach to regulation that delivers tangible benefits to members,” he said.

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