Treasurer also rules out slower Super Guarantee rate increases

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The Treasurer and Minister for Finance have clearly ruled out changes to the Super Guarantee timetable, though they are yet to be joined by the Prime Minister.

The Treasurer has joined the Minister for Finance in ruling out changes to the timetable for increases to the Super Guarantee rate.

Earlier in the week Labor asked the Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann to rule out changes to the timetable for Super Guarantee increases, to which he answered: “Yes.”

This came after after reports that Government backbenchers were agitating for a stop to, or slowing of, the Super Guarantee increases. The SG rate is legislated to reach 12 in 2025.

In Question Time on Wednesday, Labor MP Sharon Claydon asked if the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would also rule out changes to the timetable for a 12% rate. Like the Minister for Finance, the Treasurer’s answer was uncharacteristically short: “Yes.”

Previously, when asked about Superannuation Guarantee, both before and since the election, the Treasurer has repeated the answer that the Government had “no plans” to change the legislated increase to 12%.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has yet to be so clear with his answer. In Question Time on Monday the PM said: “There’s no change to the Government’s policy.”

Liberals pretending to care about retirees: Labor

Labor Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, speaking before Question Time on Wednesday, said: “The Liberals wandered around the country during the election campaign pretending to care about retirees at the same time as they were planning to attack superannuation and the pension.”

“The Liberals are gearing up to rob almost 13 million Australian workers of the Superannuation Guarantee increase that they need and deserve and were promised. And now we know on top of that they’re also gearing up to put the family home in the pension assets test,” he said, referring to reports that Liberal MP Craig Kelly wants homes to be included in the asset test for the age pension.

Chalmers continued: “We call on the Government to rule out changes to legislate the Superannuation Guarantee increase, to rule out changes to the family home in the pension asset test, and to stop pretending that they care about the retirees of this country.”

“We now know what Josh Frydenberg’s retirement incomes review is all about. The retirement incomes review is all about justifying more cuts to super and more cuts to the pension.”

The Treasurer is in favour of a review of retirement incomes, as recommended by the Productivity Commisison. Though Liberal backbenchers are reportedly planning to use the review as part of a campaign against increasing the Super Guarantee rate.

“This Government has form. It’s time for them to rule out putting the family home in the pension assets test, to rule out messing with the legislated Superannuation Guarantee increase and to stop pretending they care about retirees when all along they’ve planned this ambush on their retirement income,” said Chalmers.

Freezing SG rate will worsen super gender gap: AIST

Earlier in the week, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) warned that freezing the Super Guarantee rate would “entrench the ongoing, unacceptable chasm in retirement outcomes between men and women”.

It is estimated that 40% of single women retire in poverty. Women aged between 35 and 60 are estimated to retire with up to 30% less in superannuation than men.

Ailsa Goodwin, AIST head of advocacy, said that increasing the SG rate to 12% would be the “single greatest contribution” to improving women’s retirement balances.

“Leaving super at 9.5 per cent will consign women to financial hardship in retirement,” Goodwin said.

“Women live longer than men and are increasingly approaching retirement without the safety net of home ownership relied upon by previous generations.”

Goodwin pointed out that many high income earners – such as politicians – already received super contributions of 12% or more.

“What is good enough for them, should be good enough for the women of Australia.”

This article has been updated since publication to include the comments by AIST.

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