Government should not be able to make changes to superannuation through politics

It’s budget time again in the next two months, and it is that time of year when the Government starts

It’s budget time again in the next two months, and it is that time of year when the Government starts to look at “balancing their books” in the public’s eyes and trying to paper over any deficit or looming future crisis that might endanger their future electoral dreams.  At this time of year we often see Governments looking around for any old pool of cash they can dip into, and the larger the better.  We saw it with The Mining Tax, when Rudd and Gillard slapped a toll on the then successful mining industry when it was riding high only to see it quickly dissolve under pressure.  We also saw it with the Carbon Tax which did little more than place pressure on consumer prices.  The next stop we saw, last year and again this year is Superannuation, which is possibly the only salvageable bucket left for them to attack to balance the budget in 2016.

Today I have to stop and ask whether it is right that superannuation be a political tool that governments of the day can attack, tax, change or defer on an incremental basis to suit their own political and budgetry interests?  Or should superannuation be managed by an independent board or committee with non-political alignment?

Superannuation is something the Government put in place back in 1992 to build a backbone of Australian savings for the long term.  At the time our economy was in strife, people were living from paycheck to paycheck and the recession was a very real thing, not saving enough to house themselves later in life.  The ageing population was something we could see in our future even then and today, the need for superannuation is fully realised by all.

We know in our country that if we don’t obligate people to save for their futures that they will spend for today and rely on the government for tomorrow.  Yet for many who have contributed to their superannuation funds tirelessly since the 90s, they are feeling a little battle weary, and are concerned that superannuation is the place they will be hurt the most in the next phase of life, through governments “changing the rules”.

In the next few months there is significant concern that Superannuation will be the next “mining tax”, that is, the pool of delicious looking money the government tries to make short term and self-rewarding changes to the rules on.  Do you agree and what do you think should be done?

Should Superannuation be managed by an independent regulatory body that the government cannot affect with policy?  Or do you have another solution?