‘Job done’ on tax changes to super, no more planned: Minister

The job of changes to how superannuation is taxed is finished and the Government has no further plans, according to a senior minister.

Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, told the Tax Institute National Superannuation Conference: “I am pleased to report today that the Coalition has done the job that we needed to do on the taxation of superannuation. That job has been finished and legislated. We have no further plans.”

Minister O’Dwyer was referring to the tax changes to super from the 2016 Budget, many of which took effect on 1 July 2017.

“Our approach gives Australians certainty, and the industry stability about the Coalition’s superannuation taxation policy. It stands in stark contrast to the Labor Party and the Greens who will slug superannuants significantly more in tax as they prepare for their retirement,” said Minister O’Dwyer.

“Labor have admitted that their superannuation policy will cost superannuants an additional $1.4 billion. While according to the Greens’, their so-called ‘progressive super’ taxation plan would seek to extract up to $11 billion in taxes over four years. And it seems that this is just the starting point.”

“The only certainty the Labor Party and the Greens are able to provide Australians saving for their retirement is that they will hit them with higher taxes.”

The Government still has a number of superannuation policies it is yet to introduce to Parliament, let alone ensure passage. These includes legislation for the First Home Super Saver Scheme and changes to super fund governance.

Minister O’Dwyer said the Government has an obligation to ensure there is a “consistent minimum standard of oversight and governance in legislation so that no one member, or group of members, is let down by a superannuation fund which is poorly managed”.

“Simply put, the foundations of the superannuation legislation must be built solely around delivering for the people who it was built for – the members.”

“This is why we have asked the Productivity Commission to conduct a system-wide review of competitiveness and efficiency of superannuation.”

“And, this is why we will continue to pursue legislation that meets the standards of the Australian people and gives them the confidence that their money is being managed in their best interests.”

The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Governance) Bill 2015 lapsed in April 2016 and the Government hasn’t reintroduced it or included the proposed changes to the governance of large super funds in another Bill. The Bill lapsed because Parliament was prorogued before the last Federal election.

Minister O’Dwyer told the conference that “ensuring that Australians have a choice of fund is also unfinished business”.

The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Choice of Fund) Bill 2016 also lapsed in April 2016 and the Government has yet to reintroduce it or a replacement Bill.

No Bills to enact the superannuation policies argued for by Minister O’Dwyer were listed for introduction to Parliament in the final sitting of 2017.

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