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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 5224


Senator Sherry asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 30 August 2002:

(1) For each department within the Minister's portfolio, how is superannuation calculated (ie. is the superannuation entitlement calculated on base salary and other income payments, such as overtime allowance or performance bonuses, or on base salary alone).

(2) If the department calculates superannuation on a broader basis, by incorporating all income payments in the calculation of superannuation entitlements, but allows employees to opt out of this arrangement so as to reduce the base upon which superannuation is calculated, what proportion of employees do this.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for the Environment and Heritage has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Superannuation for employees within the Department of the Environment and Heritage is calculated in accordance with the provisions of superannuation legislation including the Superannuation Act 1976, the Superannuation Act 1990 and the Superannuation (Productivity Benefit) Act 1988 and the associated regulations, declarations and determinations for the scheme concerned (ie either the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme or the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme). Salary for superannuation purposes is based on the annual salary or wages and allowances of an employee plus allowances that are automatically included for superannuation purposes and/or allowances that are subject to one of the following criteria:

Criterion 1 - the employee has received the allowance(s) for a continuous period of over 12 months; or

Criterion 2 - there is a likelihood (that is, there is a better than 50% chance) that the member will receive the allowance for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, and a certificate to this effect has been given.

The more common allowances recognised for superannuation purposes are outlined below:

Allowances automatically recognised for superannuation purposes

· an allowance payable for the possession of a particular skill or the acquisition of a particular standard of proficiency in a work related skill (eg First Aid Allowance);

Allowances that must meet the criteria outlined above

· higher duties allowance

· shift penalty allowance

· overtime in-lieu allowance

Payments for entitlements such as standard overtime, travelling and certain expenses of office are not counted as salary for superannuation.

(2) The Department does not calculate superannuation on a broader basis.