Government should not be able to make changes to superannuation through politics 150



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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?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Yes, super is not part of the government budget. The tax we have all paid all our lives is/was theirs to do with as they wish, they chose to fritter it away instead of putting it somewhere safe for our old age pension. Enough is enough. Maybe they could throw 75% of their super entitlements into the budget, still leaving them enough to exist on.

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  2. As I recollect, the Carbon Tax actually had very little impact on prices, but it did have a significant impact on carbon production, until this government implemented their own alternative policies, which have seen carbon emissions skyrocket with not the slightest impact on lowering prices.

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    • Utter rubbish. The current programme is on track to meet or exceed all targets without a tax. My power bill certainly went down and so should have yours.

    • Depends how you define ‘all targets’ & the fact that there’s no actual ‘tax’ is just another vapid quibble about definitions, there are still costs. My power bills show very little variation.

    • Anne Ogilvie Ah, those targets would be the ones your government has signed up to. If you don’t know, I wonder why you would be posting.

    • John Green According to Greg Hunt but nobody else. And your power bill decreased by $500? Must be the only one.

    • John Green you must be the only one in Australia for your power to go down the rest of us are paying more….you must have friends in high places.

  3. I do not think that superannuation funds should be used by the wealthy to stash their spare ‘cash’ to avoid paying tax on it…I have always been sceptical about ‘compulsory’ super where it is invested in options that put the money at risk – Somewhat akin to taking it to the club and putting it through the pokies – If the government is so concerned about people saving for their retirement there surely must be a better way than ‘gambling’ on the stock exchange.. Seems like a huge problem at the moment that everybody agrees we have a revenue problem but nobody wants to pay – Rebecca many countries with resources such as ours (which after all belong to all of us) taxed the super profits from those resources and invested in futures fund to benefit all citizens – We squandered that potential revenue opportunity because we allowed ourselves to be convinced the end of the world was imminent if we taxed mega wealthy mining magnates.. Services cost and somebody has to pay…Too much potential revenue going begging..

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    • You can specify where you want you super invested. Meaning if you don’t want high risk you can choose low risk, like investing in cash. Very low interest but extremely low risk.

    • True Maree but Super is touted as growing income for our retirement and investing in low risk options whilst safe and probably advisable, is certainly not going to do that for most – It is all a bit hit and miss and I don’t believe it should be given that we are forced to contribute..

  4. Make the pollies wait till their 65 to get their super loke we have to they draw their super and still work as well its got to stop

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