Industry Super calls for Protecting Your Super Bill to pass

Industry Super Australia has called on the Parliament to “finally” pass measures aimed at protecting worker’s superannuation.

The Parliament may this week debate the Government’s ‘Protecting Your Super’ Bill. The Bill contains measures announced in the 2018/19 Budget, including capping fees for low-balance accounts, consolidating more superannuation with the ATO and making insurance in super opt-in for younger members.

Industry Super Australia said that multiple reviews had found consumers are having their superannuation “eroded by chronic underperformance, multiple accounts and for-profit fund fee-gouging”.

Industry Super Australia (ISA) chief executive Bernie Dean said that time was running out for Parliament to act, and that the interest of super fund members had to be put above politics.

“The Senate should agree on sensible amendments to the Protecting Your Super Bill designed to protect young workers and others with low balances, and the House of Representatives should ratify a bill that increases transparency and penalties for unpaid super,” said Dean.

The Bill has been stalled in the Senate since June last year. Late in 2018 Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert announced the Government would move amendments to change the insurance measures to retain opt-out insurance for dangerous occupations – though these amendments have yet to be made public.

“Long delays to these bills and partisan politicking needs to stop for members’ sake. Every week that passes without agreement risks Australians losing millions in retirement savings,” said Dean.

“By the end of this week super could be better for everyone. Fees could be lower, with limits on what a fund can charge people with low account balances”.

“We could give many people a boost by automatically finding their low balance lost and forgotten accounts and promptly combining them into one”.

It is unclear if Labor will vote for the Bill. Government Ministers have been calling on Labor to vote for the Bill, to which Labor has been retorting that in order for it to pass the Government has to actually put it up for a vote.

Bernie Dean also called for some other of the Government’s superannuation Bills to be “expedited”, including the Member Outcomes #1 Bill which contains “important measures such as civil and criminal penalties for superannuation trustees”.

However he said that other measures in the Bill would require “significant amendment” in light of the recent reports of the Banking Royal Commission and Productivity Commission.

“Unless significant amendments to the member outcomes assessment and reporting standards are made, they should be split from the bill in order to get the detail right,” he said.

“The Parliament should not be passing a weak and ineffective member outcomes test, reporting standards and disclosure regime that lets dud super funds off the hook.”

“However, this should not distract from landing critical changes where the detail is right.”

The only Bill the Government has listed for debate this week is the ‘Protecting Your Super Bill’. After this week only two further Senate sitting days are scheduled before an expected May election.

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