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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 355

Senator RICE ( Victoria ) ( 18:28 ): I rise to speak to the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Bill 2014 and foreshadow that I am going to be moving amendments that will omit schedule 1. As outlined by Senator Brown, the Greens also have very strong concerns about schedule 1 because this schedule would remove the pay slip reporting provisions in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, which requires employers to include in employee pay slips information prescribed by the regulations.

These provisions are very sensible provisions. They came from the Super System Review, the Cooper review, which recommended that employers be required by legislation to provide significantly more detail in pay slips of contributions, including a breakdown of contributions by type—that is, superannuation guarantee, salary sacrifice, after tax et cetera—and that the timing of the contributions should be improved to coincide with pay slip cycles. So this bill would remove protections for employees whose employers do not pay their superannuation. According to the Inspector-General of Taxation, the employees worst affected tend to be low-income, casual or part-time workers. I think this affects young workers as well. When you are 20 you do not pay much attention to your super contributions, super contributions that you are not going to be able to access for another 40 years. It is not a high priority. Imagine that you are not paying attention to your superannuation statements, and you would not have the information on your pay slip. Months or years could go by before you realise that your super has not been paid.

The benefits of repealing this regulation for employers are marginal compared to the significant disadvantage that employees could experience if they are kept in the dark about their super contributions. They could find out years later that they have been underpaid. Recouping this money will be a very difficult task for the employee and could result in a huge burden on employers if a lump sum then has to be paid to cover an extended period of underpayment.

Repealing this regulation shows the absurdity, unfairness, short-sightedness and narrow-mindedness of repealing regulations which are there for good reason—to create a sensible suite of measures that get good outcomes that serve the interests of the whole community. Put simply, the benefits of repeal are tiny and the consequences of it could be enormous.

(Quorum formed)