The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has written an open letter to the major political parties asking them to outline their policies to reduce poverty and inequality, including by making the retirement system “fair and sustainable”.
“Economic growth needs to be inclusive and to lift the living standards of people who have the least. To achieve this, active policies are needed. ACOSS calls on the major parties to clearly set out their policies in this Election to address the primary drivers of poverty and inequality in Australia,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“Governments control many of the levers than drive poverty and inequality and can reduce both through well-designed reforms.”
The letter sets out a number of questions under “Towards a fair and sustainable retirement incomes system”:
Is your Party committed to improving the fairness of superannuation and ensuring that the associated tax concessions are fit for purpose? If so:
(a) What action does your party propose to take to reduce the disproportionate share of tax concessions going to individuals with high incomes?
(b) What action does your Party propose to take to curb the use of superannuation tax concessions, especially in the retirement phase, to avoid personal income tax, including Capital Gains Tax and the tax payable on transfers of remaining superannuation balances to adult children?
(c) What other action does your party propose to take to ensure that the future cost of superannuation tax concessions is sustainable, especially in the retirement phase as the population ages?
(d) What action does your Party propose to take to extend tax concessions for contributions to low-income earners who pay tax at less than 15% on their wages?
Update: ACOSS has published the responses from the political parties here.
“ACOSS has broadly welcomed the Coalition’s superannuation policies announced in its Federal Budget, which would at least significantly reduce inequality in retirement incomes and help restore the integrity of the personal income tax system for those over 55 years old,” said ACOSS.
“The proposed changes would have very little impact on 95% of workers and retirees and are more modest than they have been portrayed by some. More remains to be done to bring fairness to superannuation.“