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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12503

Mr RIPOLL (OxleyParliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (11:41): The Australian government is committed to the closest possible relations with the New Zealand government and also with the people of New Zealand, and that is something that has been true for many, many years. As part of our Closer Economic Relations, the CER, and single economic market initiatives with New Zealand in 2007, a working group was established to consider options for the portability of retirement savings between Australia and New Zealand. In 2009 the government and the New Zealand government signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the Trans-Tasman Retirement Savings Portability Scheme. The scheme enables Australians and New Zealanders to take their superannuation with them when they move from one country to the other. As we all know, there are many exchanges between our countries. The bill benefits Australians and New Zealanders who move from one country to the other and who wish to take their superannuation with them.

More than 50,000 New Zealanders move to Australia each year, while there are about 14,000 people that leave Australia permanently to take up residency in New Zealand. The measure will assist individuals to streamline their financial affairs when they move between the two countries, consolidate their superannuation in the country of residence and avoid paying fees and charges on multiple accounts held in the two countries. The scheme will also assist Australian superannuation funds by removing small or inactive accounts belonging to former members now living in New Zealand from the Australian superannuation system. The scheme removes an impediment to labour mobility between Australia and New Zealand and enhances the development of a seamless trans-Tasman labour market.

The scheme is an important step in Australia's Closer Economic Relations with New Zealand and supports ongoing progress towards a single economic market. Both governments are committed to this goal through the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations trade agreement. This is the first time an international superannuation portability scheme has been implemented in Australia, so it is indeed a landmark development and a historic one at that.

I understand that the commencement of this scheme has been welcomed on both sides of the Tasman Sea, including by two key Australian super industry bodies—the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. There has also been significant interest and attention in New Zealand welcoming the progress of the Australian legislation and the commencement of this scheme once the legislation has passed.

This is good work that has been done in a timely manner by this government and forms part of a broader objective of having increasing and ever closer relations and relationships with New Zealand and benefits both countries. It benefits Australia and it benefits New Zealand. It is supported on both sides of this House and I commend the bill to the House.