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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 41

Mr BALDWIN (3:13 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer. Would the minister advise the House of the extent to which Australians are accessing the government's superannuation co-contribution scheme?

Mr BROUGH (Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer) —I thank the member for Paterson for his question. I am pleased to inform the House that the ATO has informed me that they are about to roll out the first tranche of payments of the Howard government's co-contribution scheme. They have recently checked 1.25 million income tax returns for their eligibility for the co-contribution. Of that 1.25 million, I am pleased to inform the House that some 215,000 middle- and low-income earners will be receiving a co-contribution towards their retirement income.

This is particularly good news because it is not only doing something positive today, but it is also giving an incentive to Australians to make provision for their retirement in years to come. The tax office estimates that $110 million will be injected into Australia's superannuation as a result of these payments, which is an average of about $510 per payment per person. To put this into the context, with this extra payment, a person on $28,000 over a 30-year working life will increase their retirement balance by about $54,000 or potentially about $2,300 extra income in retirement, which is a great thing for Australians to look forward to.

This morning I noticed in the Australian Financial Review that one of Australia's largest industry funds, the Australian Retirement Fund, is planning a promotion in which one of its members describes the co-contribution as `bloody brilliant'. Quite frankly, I am sure the 215,000 Australians out there who are about to receive extra money through the Howard government's co-contribution would agree with the sentiment that this is `bloody brilliant'. It means that Australians are being provided an incentive to make provision for themselves and, in doing so, to have more secure superannuation.