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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3712

Superannuation


Mr TED O'BRIEN (Fairfax) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services. Will the minister update the House on the action the government is taking to ensure Australians' superannuation is protected, including the superannuation of hardworking young Australians such as those in my seat of Fairfax.


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) (14:48): I thank the member for Fairfax for his question and note the strong interest he takes in protecting the superannuation savings of his constituents. I commend him for that. It is so critically important to ensure those people in Australia who work hard and save diligently for their retirement have their savings protected, and that is what the Turnbull government is focused on. We are seeing, though, that young people in particular have their superannuation accounts whittled away by excessive fees and charges. The current system also sees millions of Australians unable to take advantage of the impact of long-term compound savings. Their savings have been spread across multiple accounts because they are unable, due to enterprise bargaining agreements and the like, to consolidate them. This must be fixed.

The government's Protecting Your Super package will defend the superannuation savings of millions of Australians by capping certain fees and banning others. We are improving insurance arrangements by stopping young Australians, those with balances below $6,000 and those with inactive accounts from being saddled with insurance that they don't need, can't claim on and didn't ask for. We are protecting those Australians who have forgotten accounts—money they have saved and set aside but no longer have access to—by proactively reuniting those people with their money. Combined with our personal income tax plan announced in this budget, Australians, and young Australians in particular, will be tens of thousands of dollars better off throughout their working life and in their retirement.

It's not just us on this side that recognise that. Consumer advocates such as CHOICE, along with numerous other consumer groups, have backed our superannuation reforms. They have said that billions will flow back to consumers, away from the bottom line of the big banks and the life insurers, and, they've said, for individuals, it will mean tens of thousands of dollars more in their savings. Now this is fair.

But tonight the Leader of the Opposition has a real test of character. He has a chance to show the Australian people whether or not he actually believes in his rhetoric about fairness. He has to show tonight whether he is more than just talk or he will in fact back in these fair reforms. I suspect that he won't. And why won't he? Because he was the chief architect of the mess that has been created and that we are fixing up, when he was Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation. The Turnbull government will protect your money. They won't.