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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13181


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (16:52): I move:

That the amendments be considered immediately.

Question agreed to.

Mr SHORTEN: I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

On 3 November 2011, I introduced the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (MySuper Core Provisions) Bill 2012. Australia's superannuation savings pool stands at nearly $1.46 trillion and it grew 13 per cent over the year to September 2012. You hear a lot of doom and gloom in some parts of the Australian media about our superannuation, but the fact our retirement savings grew at a double-digit rate should give Australians confidence.

Last week ANZ launched its new Smart Choice superannuation product, which has been designed with the government's MySuper and Stronger Super reforms in mind. This, together with the ING Living Super launch I attended in September, gives a clear signal that the industry is embracing the MySuper reforms and launching new simple and affordable products.

A bill that provides tax relief for fund mergers—the so-called roll-over relief—has also passed the parliament. This will benefit millions of Australians because it removes a tax barrier that could have prevented otherwise viable fund mergers from proceeding. Again, another win in terms of cost and efficiency.

This was soon followed by the passage of a very significant reform for trans-Tasman relations that will establish trans-Tasman retirement savings portability. New Zealanders who move to Australia will now be able to consolidate their New Zealand retirement savings with their Australian superannuation benefits. Similarly, Australians moving to New Zealand, and New Zealanders returning home, will be able to take their Australian benefits with them, to consolidate with their New Zealand retirement savings. This reform will help the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who move across the Tasman Sea each year. They will be able to consolidate their retirement savings in their country of residence and avoid paying fees and charges on accounts in the two countries. This will help literally tens of thousands of New Zealanders who moved to Australia in the last year and the 14,000 Australians who have moved to New Zealand.

The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (MySuper Core Provisions) Bill 2012 delivers the government's 2010 election commitment to introduce a new simple, low-cost default superannuation product called MySuper. The MySuper reforms will put downward pressure on superannuation fees and they are a significant step towards enhancing the arrangements for workers' retirement savings. It reflects the Gillard Labor government's commitment to improving the efficiency, competition, transparency and governance arrangements for the superannuation industry.

The bill amends the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 to provide that trustees are able to apply to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for authorisation to offer a MySuper product. The bill passed the House on 22 August 2012 and the Senate passed this bill on 22 November 2012, after making some technical amendments to the commencement provisions.

When the bill passed the House it provided that the provisions allowing funds to apply for authorisation for a MySuper product would commence on 1 January 2013, unless an earlier day was fixed by proclamation. In other words, the bill allowed applications to offer a MySuper product to commence from no later than 1 January 2013. However, key requirements for an application to offer a MySuper product are contained in the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Further MySuper and Transparency Measures) Bill 2012. Applications to offer a MySuper product should not commence until that bill has passed. Therefore, the amendments agreed to by the Senate are important as they change the day on which the bill commences to a single day fixed by proclamation, which will ensure that applications for a MySuper product will not commence until those key requirements of a MySuper application in the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Further MySuper and Transparency Measures) Bill 2012 have also come into effect. I commend the bill to the House.