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Tuesday, 22 May 1973
Page: 2462

Mr Giles asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   In view of the Ninth Quinquennial Investigation as at 30 June 1967 of the Superannuation Fund, what progress has been made with the revision of superannuation arrangements for Commonwealth employees.

(2)   What is the nature and form of the proposed revised arrangements.

(3)   When will the new arrangements be announced.

(4)   To what extent will the revised arrangements include the following features of a new scheme as indicated in the report: (a) an increase in pension benefits to widows and resumption of the payment of widows' pensions under certain conditions, (b) an increase in children's and orphans' benefits, (c) automatic adjustment of pensions based on a cost of living or similar index, or to notional variations in final salary, (d) variation in the calculation of retrenchment benefits, (e) in the case of single pensioners, a payment to be made to the next of kin of any excess of contributions over pension received, (0 interest to be paid on refunds of contributions to those members leaving the Fund, (g) rates of contributions to be limited to a maximum percentage of salary in accordance with age at entry to the scheme, (h) provision for limited benefits for those contributors not meeting the full medical standards of the present scheme, (i) voluntary retirement and payment of an adjusted pension at 55 years of age and (j) a provision to be made for commutation of the pension to alump sum on age retirement.

(5)   Did the Superannuation Board, in paragraphs 39 to 41 of its report express concern that the Tenth Quinquennial Investigation as at 30 June 1972 of the Superannuation Fund was due and may overlap with the outcome of the Ninth Quinquennial Investigation if distribution of the surplus assets as cash payments were made from the earlier Investigation.

(6)   If so, and in view of the Board's concern which is shared by all members of the Fund, will he indicate what decision will be made on the surplus from the Ninth Quinquennial Investigation.

(7)   Can he also indicate the possible surplus which will emerge from the Tenth Quinquennial Investigation of the Fund.

(8)   As the largest employing authority in Australia, will the Government set a lead in the important field of preparing their employees for healthy, happy and successful retirement by introducing an appropriate educational scheme.

Mr Crean - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) On 8 May 1973 I tabled the Report of the Treasury Committee on Superannuation. The Report reviews the present superannuation arrangements for Commonwealth employees and includes recommendations for a new superannuation scheme. The Government has taken no stand on the Report at this stage and has expressed interest in receiving comments on the Report from interested persons and organisations.

(4)   The features mentioned are dealt with in the Committee's Report. Regarding (c), the Superannuation Bill 1973, which I introduced on 2 May 1973, provides for automatic annual adjustments of superannuation pensions on the basis recommended by Professor A. H. Pollard in his Report on Superannuation Pension Updating tabled by the Prime Minister on 10 April 1973.

(5)   Yes.

(6)   It would be premature to indicate a decision which might be made on this matter before a further report is received from the Superannuation Board in conjunction with the Tenth Quinquennial Investigation now in progress and the outcome of the present inquiry into superannuation arrangements.

(7)   No.

(8)   The Board is expanding further its advisory, counselling and training service which provides for group addresses and retirement counselling including interviews and written advice on individual problems.

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