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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12250

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (15:38): I would first of all like to thank those members who have contributed to this debate. Schedule 1 of the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012—the CGT relief and other measures bill—reinstates the temporary loss relief for merging superannuation funds, with some modifications. Given the potential benefits to members of facilitating industry consolidation and the possible costs for some entities transitioning to Stronger Super, temporary taxation relief in the form of loss relief and asset rollover for the mergers of superannuation funds is necessary to remove particular tax impediments to such mergers.

Schedule 1 will facilitate consolidation of superannuation funds, driving lower costs and improved returns to fund members. These savings will find their way into the retirement savings of ordinary Australians, providing them with more security as they save and lifting their quality of life in retirement. The trustee of one merging fund has calculated that, all things being equal, the merger benefits for a typical member aged 38 and earning $44,000 will be $14,000 on retirement. The number of APRA-regulated funds are to fall over the coming five years. In part, this will occur as trustees consider their capacity to meet the new governance and transparency standards being driven by Labor. But, for the most part, consolidation will be driven by the benefits of scale in reducing costs and improving the provision of superannuation to Australia's workforce. These savings, both in fees and in net returns, will boost the retirement savings of thousands of ordinary working Australians.

Schedule 2 of the CGT relief and other measures bill introduces a registration regime for auditors of self-managed superannuation funds. As part of this regime, auditors will be required to meet initial and ongoing requirements relating to their qualifications, competency and independence. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will be responsible for setting competency standards, which they are developing in consultation with industry and will make available shortly. The registration regime will improve the integrity of the SMSF sector by providing assurance that contraventions by SMSF trustees are being detected and reported. The Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012 imposes fees on SMSF auditors to help recover the costs of establishing the SMSF auditor registration regime.

Schedule 3 of the CGT relief and other measures bill amends the tax law to expand the existing reporting obligations for superannuation providers. The purpose of these amendments is to support a number of the government's Stronger Super announcements in relation to account consolidation and enhanced online services for individuals and funds. These amendments will allow the ATO to display more comprehensive superannuation information to individuals and to facilitate the consolidation of inactive accounts with a low balance. They will also support the increased concessional contributions cap for members over 50 whose interests or accounts are valued at less than half a million dollars from 1 July 2014.

Schedule 4 of the CGT relief and other measures bill amends the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, known as the SIS Act, and the Retirement Savings Account Act 1997, the RSA Act, to improve the quality of information in the superannuation system to facilitate fully effective e-commerce. I commend this bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.