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Thursday, 13 March 2008
Page: 771

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (9:35 AM) —I table the explanatory memorandum relating to the bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Board and Other Measures) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 proposes amendments which will update a range of legislation largely as a consequence of other legislative changes.

From 1 July 2008 the Superannuation Guarantee requirements will change by requiring employers to use ordinary time earnings (OTE) as the earnings base for an employee when calculating their Superannuation Guarantee obligations in all cases.

The Bill therefore includes amendments to the Superannuation Act 1976, which provides for the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme, the CSS, and to the Superannuation (Productivity Benefit) Act 1988 to reflect these new Superannuation Guarantee requirements. The amendments are intended to ensure that the benefits provided under those Acts will, from 1 July 2008, continue to be sufficient to satisfy an employer’s Superannuation Guarantee obligations in respect of employees who have entitlements under those Acts.

In relation to the Superannuation Act 1976, the amendments will enable the detailed changes to be made to the CSS by regulation. The CSS regulations will be made once regulations have been made under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 to apply the new OTE requirements to defined benefit schemes like the CSS. Enabling changes to the CSS to be made by Regulation will ensure that the changes to the CSS can be in place by 1 July 2008.

The Bill amends 24 Acts as a consequence of the establishment of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan, or the PSSAP. The PSSAP replaced the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme, the PSS, as the main superannuation scheme for new Australian Government employees and office holders from 1 July 2005.

Many Commonwealth Acts include references to the CSS and PSS when dealing with specific terms and conditions of employment for persons engaged under those Acts, such as retirement on invalidity grounds. The Bill proposes amendments to those Acts to also include a reference to the PSSAP where appropriate; reflecting the likelihood that many future employees or office holders engaged under those Acts could be PSSAP members.

Amendments are also proposed to 27 Commonwealth Acts to reflect the consolidation of the governance arrangements for the three major superannuation schemes for Australian Government employees - the CSS, the PSS and the PSSAP. Since 1 July 2006, the Australian Reward Investment Alliance or ARIA has been the trustee for the three schemes. The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Board and Other Measures) Act 2006 transferred all the functions of the CSS Board to the PSS Board, which was already the trustee for the PSS and the PSSAP. The PSS Board was renamed ARIA and the CSS Board was abolished. The Bill makes a number of technical amendments to reflect these changes.

The remaining changes in the Bill are of a technical nature. For example a number of Acts, which make superannuation arrangements for Australian Government employees and Members of Parliament, are to be amended to clarify that certain instruments made under those Acts are subject to the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. The LI Act introduced a new, comprehensive regime for the making, registration, parliamentary scrutiny and sun-setting of Commonwealth delegated legislation from 1 July 2005.

Ordered that further consideration of the second reading of this bill be adjourned to the first sitting day of the next period of sittings, in accordance with standing order 111.