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Monday, 16 September 2019
Page: 2964


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (12:45): by leave—I move amendments (1) to (13) on sheet 1, as circulated in my name, together:

(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 15), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(2) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (lines 5 and 6), omit "1 October 2019", substitute "1 July 2020".

(3) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (line 7), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(4) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (line 11), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(5) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (line 14), omit "1 August 2019", substitute "1 May 2020".

(6) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (line 18), omit "1 October 2019", substitute "1 July 2020".

(7) Schedule 1, item 8, page 7 (line 23), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(8) Schedule 1, item 8, page 8 (line 9), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(9) Schedule 1, item 8, page 8 (line 20), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(10) Schedule 1, item 8, page 8 (line 24), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(11) Schedule 1, item 8, page 8 (line 27), omit "1 October 2019", substitute "1 July 2020".

(12) Schedule 1, item 8, page 8 (line 30), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 April 2020".

(13) Schedule 1, item 9, page 9 (line 13), omit "1 October 2019", substitute "1 July 2020".

The amendments seek to address a shortcoming within the bill. But before I go to them in some short detail I want to clarify something. Members of the government who are contributing in the debate seem to be suffering under some illusion that Labor doesn't support the substance of the bill—we do. But there are some defects, and they're not defects that have been identified solely by Labor. Indeed the amendments that I am moving now are amendments that were recommended by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which said:

APRA considers an appropriate implementation timeframe would be, at a minimum, 6 months but preferably 12 months …

That was in the submission from the deputy chairman of APRA to the Senate inquiry into this bill.

Why do we need to extend the time lines? It is because under the bill, as currently drafted, all of the funds are required to notify their members who fall within the class to be affected and then give those members enough time to advise them in writing if they wish to have their superannuation cover continued. The number of members who are under the age of 25 is about 15 per cent of the workforce, so it's a significant number of fund members indeed, and, if you're a fund in the hospitality industry or the retail industry, it could be as many as 50 per cent of the policyholders or the members within that fund. It is a significant burden of work indeed. Industry Super Australia provided evidence to the Senate inquiry on this particular matter. They have advised that it would be an enormous administrative burden that would very, very likely lead to mistakes and to members who wish to have cover falling out of cover because of that very short time frame.

The superannuation fund that covers workers within the mining industry gave some interesting evidence as well. They pointed out that a lot of their workers were engaged in fly-in fly-out or drive-in drive-out work, and they pointed out that it is very, very difficult for a fund to make contact with and receive responses from workers engaged in these industries. It is not an unusual observation. However it is unusual to be able to find a matter on which the Financial Services Council and the industry super lobby are on one page, and on this matter they are. The Financial Services Council also provided evidence where they said:

… the compressed timeframe for implementing the PYS changes caused confusion among consumers. Following soon after with similar changes may further undermine trust and confidence in the system, particularly given call centres are still receiving enquiries about PYS.

For the benefit of members in this place, the PYS changes are the changes that took place prior to the last election. Super funds are still receiving inquiries about them. The administrative benefit has not entirely flown through. It's for these reasons that the regulator has said that it would be prudent that we extend the time frame by a minimum of six months and preferably by 12 months, and Labor's amendment to this bill goes directly to that. We've taken a moderate proposition and are moving that the amendments be accepted by all sensible members of this House to ensure that the bill, which is 95 per cent right, can move through as the government intends it. It will have the support of the opposition, but it will be improved by this amendment.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendments moved by the member for Whitlam be agreed to.