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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5565

Senator Sherry asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, 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 Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Transport and Regional Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

This answer supersedes the answer printed in Hansard on 23 September 2002.

(1) For employees of the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) covered by the DOTARS Certified Agreement 2002-2004 superannuation is calculated and contributions paid according to the rules and regulations governing the appropriate member's scheme. Base salary and approved allowances form the basis of these calculations.

Further, the Department's Certified Agreement specifies the following:

· Additional Responsibility Allowance (formerly Higher Duties Allowance) will count as salary for superannuation purposes subject to the relevant superannuation legislation;

· Fire Warden/First Aid Attendant Allowance counts as salary for superannuation purposes; and

· Transport Safety Investigator Restriction Allowance counts as service for superannuation purposes.

Employees who have entered into an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) have an agreed dollar amount specified as salary for superannuation purposes. This dollar amount is generally the negotiated base salary amount and does not include any allowances. The salary for superannuation purposes remains static for the life of the AWA.

(2) DOTARS does not allow employees to manipulate their base superannuation salary through such means as salary sacrifice, nor is such a practice endorsed by Comsuper.