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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12505

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (11:51): I would like to thank those members who have contributed to the debate on the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (New Zealand Arrangement) Bill. I take this opportunity to acknowledge all the members of the House who have supported this bill and thank them for their support.

This bill introduces a scheme to allow the transfer of superannuation between New Zealand and Australia. Currently, Australians and New Zealanders working in Australia cannot transfer their superannuation when they leave Australia permanently; it must remain in their Australian superannuation fund until they are eligible to claim it, usually on retirement. The new scheme will permit individuals who move both ways across the Tasman to take their superannuation with them. Australians moving to New Zealand may transfer their superannuation to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme, New Zealanders moving to Australia may transfer their KiwiSaver benefits to their Australian superannuation fund. In this way many thousands of people will be able to consolidate their retirement savings in their country of residence. They will no longer have to pay fees and charges on accounts held in two countries. There are 483,000 people who were born in New Zealand who now live in Australia. This will be a marvellous development for those people. Superannuation funds will benefit from the removal of small or inactive accounts from the Australian superannuation system. These are accounts that belong to people who no longer live in Australia and who are no longer making contributions to their Australian fund.

This bill also enhances the development of a seamless trans-Tasman labour market by removing an impediment to labour mobility between our two great countries. The introduction of the scheme is an important step in our 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. I commend this bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.