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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5174


Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services. Will the minister update the House on how the government is safeguarding the retirement savings of all Australians, including those in my electorate of Leichhardt? Is the minister aware of any different ideas that would put these retirement savings at risk?

Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) (14:33): I thank the member for Leichhardt for his question and for his very strong and passionate advocacy on behalf of his constituents. Particularly, he is very, very concerned about their savings and in particular their retirement savings. I want to assure him that the government is doing everything within our power to protect those retirement savings. We know that superannuation savings are the second biggest asset for most Australians. Unfortunately, though, for those Australians who are younger and on lower incomes, they have been particularly dudded by the changes made by the Leader of the Opposition in uncapping fees and forcing them into high insurance premiums that they do not want, do not need and, in many cases, cannot even claim on.

But the government is doing something about this. We are making sure that we are safeguarding people's savings and their nest eggs. We are going to reunite Australians with their hard-earned money, with their lost superannuation or their inactive superannuation accounts, and we are doing that proactively and automatically through the Australian Taxation Office.

This will mean that, nationally, we will reunite people with around $6 billion of their own money. That is around $1.3 billion that will go to the people in Queensland. That is something that I know the member for Leichhardt is very keen on, and also the candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg. I know that he is very, very passionate about protecting Australian retirement accounts.

We are also banning exit fees. We are making sure that there is no barrier for people to go and find another account, one that might be better for them, which currently they are not able to do under the existing rules that prohibit those people who have an enterprise bargaining agreement from choosing their own fund.

Now, who is standing in the way of this? Well, I'm sad to say that the Leader of the Opposition is standing in the way of this. The members opposite are standing in the way of this. And the question is, really, why? Why is it that they are doing this? Well, it might be because they have got another plan. Their plan, instead, is to propose even more regressive charges, fees and taxes on retirees. They have got a tax, a $55 billion tax, on the pockets of hundreds of thousands of Australians, including those 165,000 Queenslanders.

This opposition cannot be trusted in government. This shifty Leader of the Opposition cannot be trusted to protect the retirement savings of Australians. Do not give him the chance.