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Friday, 16 December 1983
Page: 4018

Question No. 249


Senator Messner asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 23 August 1983:

Will the forthcoming discussions on the arrangements with life assurance companies and other interested parties with regard to annuities, include the question of indexation of payments to superannuees or will the provisions of indexed bonds referred to by the Government in the economic statement only be aimed at maintaining the life companies asset worth but yield only small income refunds.


Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Following the announcement in the Government's economic statement of 19 May 1983 concerning new arrangements for taxing lump sum benefits, preliminary discussions were held with representatives of the life insurance and superannuation industries on a number of related issues, including the sale of annuities. The Statement which the Treasurer issued jointly with the Australian Council of Trade Unions on 15 August 1983, foreshadowed a continuation of discussions with the ACTU, the Confederation of Australian Industry and other interested parties including the superannuation industry, with the objective of developing a national retirement package. It also indicated that the operation of annuities will be subject to further consideration. The question of issuing Commonwealth indexed securities raises a number of substantial and complex issues. It was against this background that the Martin group, which was established to review aspects of the Australian financial system, was specifically asked to give priority consideration to this issue. The Treasurer has received an interim report by the Martin group on this subject and it is being considered by the Government. Any governmental discussions with industry on this subject will be considered after the Government has decided its basic policies on the matter.