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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12005

Superannuation


Mr WILLIAMS (Hindmarsh) (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer. Will the minister explain what action the government is taking to ensure Australians have more choice with their superannuation?


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer) (14:54): Thank you to the member for Hindmarsh. Can I say that he is a very powerful advocate on behalf of all of his constituents. He is concerned very deeply about their retirement incomes, which goes to the very heart of his question today. Next to the family home, the greatest source of wealth for most Australians is their superannuation savings. How well their superannuation funds perform directly impacts on their retirement incomes.

It is incredibly important that every Australian has choice in their superannuation fund, because every Australian is best placed to determine what is in their best interests and what is in the best interests of their family. It is in their hands that we should put their future.

Employees who are covered by enterprise bargaining agreements currently have no say whatsoever in relation to their superannuation fund. They are directed to be in an industry fund or in a retail fund that is covered by the enterprise bargaining agreement. They are forced into that particular fund. Around about 20 per cent of all employees in Australia are covered by enterprise bargaining agreements. I have an example of one such person, a university student who is a part-time employee of the university. He is paid by them and he is covered by an enterprise bargaining agreement that forces him into a particular fund. He also works part-time at a major supermarket chain, where he is covered by another enterprise bargaining agreement and is forced into a different superannuation fund. This means two different superannuation funds, two different sets of fees and two different premiums that he is forced to pay for his insurance. He asks this pretty valid question: 'Superannuation is a compulsory investment of my funds for my future. How is it that the law allows for the decision on who is in control of my money to be made for me by an agreement which I did not vote for?' We say to him that we are going to fix that problem for him. We are fixing it in our response to the financial systems inquiry. We are going to throw open the choice that is available to him. We know that he is best-placed to make the decision about what is in his best interests and what is in the best interests of his retirement future. So, we say to him: today, on this side of the chamber we will fix it. And we ask the question of those opposite: will you join us?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lingiari will cease interjecting. He also used an unparliamentary term. He can assist the House and withdraw it.

Mr Snowdon: I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: Thank you. The member for Sydney.