Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley’s attempt to ensure Australia’s mandated increased superannuation contributions were adhered to until 2025 has failed in the Senate, with the government stating it was too early to make any guarantees due to the COVID downturn.
Senator Polley moved a motion this week calling for the timeline of super increases from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025 to be retained, fearing the impact of allowing Australians to draw down on their super during the pandemic.
The timeline has undergone several extensions under coalition governments.
Senator Polley said super would still play a key role in keeping retirees out of poverty in the future, regardless of the COVID pandemic.
IN OTHER NEWS:
“Too many Australians retire with insufficient retirement savings, that is something this government just does not understand which is why they did not support the motion in the Senate to strengthen our superannuation system,” she said.
“Due to the COVID recession people want certainty about their future. More super not less is good for the country. Australia cannot afford for the long overdue superannuation increase to be delayed. Australian super funds will make the investment needed to drive jobs and growth to boost the economic recovery.”
About 560,000 Australians have taken up the offer of withdrawing from their super, totalling $32 billion. Of those, more than 80 per cent were people aged under 35.
Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer said she was a firm supporter of super – in particular reducing the gap for women – but COVID had meant it was difficult to plan too far ahead.
“As it stands, the proposed changes aren’t due to come into effect in July 2021 which is some way off,” she said.
“This year has seen changes in our economy that nobody would have dreamt possible.
“As a government, we will continue to adapt to the situation as we find it and continue to do what is in the best interests of getting people in our communities into jobs.”
Women, on average, retire with 42 per cent less in super compared with men, according to a 2019 analysis of five large super funds.
Some government MPs have ramped up their rhetoric targeting industry super funds in recent months.