Should Labor win the Federal election it will seek to introduce a Council of Super Custodians, a policy first announced in 2013. But the Council will only start work after Labor enacts the superannuation policies already announced.
“Labor will create a Council of Superannuation Custodians to guide changes to the superannuation system,” says a Labor policy document.
“The Council of Superannuation Custodians will help take superannuation decisions out of the annual budget cycle and will ensure the overarching integrity of the system.”
But the Council won’t be involved in the superannuation policies Labor has already announced.
“This will take effect after Labor enacts its already announced changes to superannuation tax concessions, and other changes to superannuation to make the system fairer, including paying the Superannuation Guarantee on Paid Parental Leave and enshrining superannuation within the National Employment Standards,” says Labor’s policy.
Labor has joined the Coalition in promising no new or higher taxes on superannuation.
The Council will have a role in considering the impact of super changes on women.
“Labor will ensure that Labor’s Council of Superannuation Custodians considers and reports on the impact on women of any future superannuation changes that it recommends to the Government. The Council will make recommendations on legislative changes to superannuation tax policies every five years, in line with the release of the Intergenerational Report,” says Labor, in its “Plan To Boost Super Nest Eggs”.
The Council of Super Custodians was originally announced by Labor in 2013, but it was not implemented ahead of the 2013 election and dropped by the incoming Coalition government.
The 2013 policy had the role of the Council as ensuring that future changes to superannuation agreed with the Charter of Superannuation Adequacy and Sustainability. The Charter was to be based on the principles of “certainty, adequacy, fairness and sustainability”.
The 2013 announcement says: “The Charter will clearly outline the core objects, values and principles of the Australian superannuation system, or as Paul Keating put it”:
“The basic objective of the Government’s retirement incomes policy is to ensure that all members of the population have an adequate and secure level of income in retirement.”
It is unclear if Labor also intends to return to a Charter for superannuation, as no mention of it is made in the 2019 policy. Though senior Labor MPs have spoke in favour of setting an objective for superannuation in legislation.
Since late 2016, the Coalition has had a Bill before the Parliament which would set in legislation objectives for the super system. It would have also required other legislation to include a Statement of Compatibility with Objective of Superannuation. Though the Bill stalled in the Senate, while the Government passed changes to super – including its ‘Fair and Sustainable’ and ‘Protecting Your Superannuation’ packages of changes.
In 2016, Labor Minister Jim Chalmers said the Council was “well worth reviving”.
“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,” he said at the time.