Treasurer wants power to set superannuation guarantee rate

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Treasurer  - Minerals Resource Rent Tax repeal superannuation (MRRT), superannuation guarantee, low income super contribution (LISC)The Government has introduced a bill to the Parliament which would give the Treasurer the power to set the superannuation guarantee rate by legislative instrument.

This is contained in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014, which is the third attempt to repeal the MRRT, change the rate of the super guarantee and repeal the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC).

On Monday, first the Government moved to set aside the second MRRT repeal bill, after the Senate insisted on keeping the LISC and the currently scheduled increases in the super guarantee. Then at 12:36 pm the new bill was introduced to the Parliament, by just after 2:00 pm it had passed the House of Representatives.

The second 2013 bill originally had the old rates of increases to the superannuation guarantee, from the first MRRT repeal. The Government had attempted to amend their own bill in the Senate to update the table to reflect the rates announced in the budget, but this failed.

It now appears that the Government is attempting to see that this doesn’t happen again, by giving the Treasurer the power to set the superannuation guarantee rate via legislative instrument. This would not need to be voted on by the Parliament and, as the explanatory memorandum to the bill says, is “not subject to disallowance”.

The EM to the bill also says that if given the power the Government intends to use it to change the SG rate as announced in the 2014 budget.

There are some limitations on when and how such changes could be made, if the legislation passes:

  • The change must be for a future period
  • The SG rate can’t be less than the rate that applied for the previous financial year
  • The SG rate can’t be the same for more than four years (unless it is at 12%)
  • The Treasurer can’t set the SG rate higher than 12%
  • The SG rate must be set in multiples of 0.5%

The repeal of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) is largely the same, although it is unclear from which year it will apply. The second MRRT bill stopped the LISC after 1 July 2013, the third bill stops the LISC for “concessional contributions for the financial year before the financial year in which this Schedule commences”.

However the bill is likely to encounter resistance in the Senate, with Clive Palmer tweeting that:

“Ill-conceived mining tax repeal bill won’t pass Senate without low income super contribution, income support bonus & the schoolkids bonus”

The bill and explanatory material are available on the parliament website.

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