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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9805


Senator KETTER (Queensland) (10:13): My contribution in relation to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill 2017 revolves very much around the fact that the proposition is to abolish the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and absorb it into this new Australian Financial Complaints Authority. Whilst the opposition doesn't have concerns about the ombudsman services being combined, as I have previously indicated, we do have major concerns about the changes to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

Some of these concerns were raised by Helen Davis, the chair of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, during the committee's inquiry, and I thank her for her contribution. I would like to also say that this lends support to the Labor view that the tribunal should continue to stand alone. The CPSU's submission to the committee's inquiry is also very informative. They pointed to the fact that the proposed scheme will reduce consumer protections and rights in relation to superannuation matters. They also indicated that the focus of the SCT does not address the widespread community concerns about the operations of the financial services sector. They make the very cogent point that radical changes are being proposed for the superannuation industry, which has not seen anything close to the litany of scandals that have beset the finance sector. In other submissions to the committee's inquiry, I note a number of other reservations to the changes being made.

In closing, I would like to thank Senator Gallagher for her work in this area. Obviously, her highly principled actions this morning speak volumes for her integrity. I also know that Senator Gallagher is passionate about the need for the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal to continue with its functions, as am I. I also thank Senator McAllister, who acted as deputy chair of the committee for a time. We believe that the integrity of our super system is too valuable to risk and we do not support the weakening of this body.