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Monday, 18 June 2012
Page: 6723

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:17): Let me say at the outset that the coalition supports these bills—the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Stronger Super) Bill 2012 and the Superannuation Supervisory Levy Imposition Amendment Bill 2012—which were introduced on Thursday, 24 May 2012 by the member for Maribyrnong, the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. I will run briefly through the schedules in the first bill, then the single schedule in the second bill and cover a couple of areas of detail that have been raised since the minister introduced this legislation in the last sitting fortnight.

As I said at the outset on behalf of the coalition, we support these bills and the principles that underpin them. With respect to the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Stronger Super) Bill 2012, the first schedule of the bill introduces—as the minister outlined in his second reading speech and in the explanatory memorandum—a framework to support the implementation of superannuation data and payment regulations and standards that will apply to specified superannuation transactions undertaken by superannuation entities, retirement savings account providers and employers. The second schedule amends the APRA Act, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998—specifically section 50—to enable costs associated with the implementation of the measures to be included in the minister's determination specifying the amount of the levy that is payable to the Commonwealth. The amendments also enable the minister to make a determination that specifies the proportion of levy money paid to APRA that is to be credited to the APRA Special Account. The Superannuation Supervisory Levy Imposition Amendment Bill amends the Superannuation Supervisory Levy Imposition Act 1998 in a range of material respects to enable the Treasurer to make more than one determination on the imposition of levies for a financial year.

The coalition is supporting this legislation and supports the principle of measures that improve the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of the administration of the superannuation system by making the system easier to use for employers, ensuring fewer lost accounts, providing a more timely flow of money to super fund members' accounts and delivering savings to employers and fund members. As part of the government's proposal, these bills provide for the implementation of data and payment regulations and standards, as I have outlined, that will allow participants in the super system to communicate by using standardised business terms in a consistent and reliable format. Electronic transmission using agreed transport and security protocols will allow for a more automated and timely processing of transactions with fewer errors. If properly implemented, these changes will deliver significant efficiency savings to the super industry and to employers. Indeed, the savings have been estimated by the Financial Services Council to be quite significant—of the order of $20 billion over 10 years. Much of the detail on these new standards will, of course, be in regulations, which industry participants consider to be appropriate.

Like most pieces of technical legislation, this has been before a parliamentary committee since its introduction on 24 May—that committee being the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, of which I am a member. That committee reported today—around lunchtime, to be accurate—recommending that the legislation be passed but also recommending:

That the ATO be required to provide a regular detailed breakdown of its costs and expenditure of the additional levies to the SuperStream Advisory Council, based on reporting guidelines developed in consultation between the council and the ATO.

That is a firm recommendation of the committee—and by all members on the committee. The cost of implementation, as outlined in the legislation and in the minister's speech, will be $467 million from 2012-13 to 2017-18, including $121 million in 2012-13. So we think that that recommendation in the report tabled earlier today is a relevant one. We on this side of the House note that it is supported by all members on the committee. As I said, we support this legislation and think if properly implemented it will certainly provide benefits and efficiencies right through the system.