Election candidates should focus on super if they want to win

A leading superannuation group is calling on whoever wins the election to “give super the attention it deserves”.

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) says it wishes to actively engage with both major political parties on the fairness, equity, adequacy and transparency of Australia’s superannuation system.

The group is also calling on both of the leading candidates to formally declare their continued support for compulsory super, their commitment to raising the super guarantee to 12 per cent and extending the Your Future, Your Super performance tests to all APRA-regulated super products.

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AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck says Aussie voters often don’t consider superannuation policy when choosing who to vote for, but that these policies will have a dramatic effect on their quality of life in retirement.

“Although superannuation may not be front of mind for Australians as they consider their voting intentions, it is a major driver of their quality of life in retirement and we’re determined to make sure it gets attention during the campaign,” she says.

“We’ve seen the major parties focus on immediate financial issues such as household budgets and the rising cost of living as they compete for the hearts, minds and votes of Australians, which is understandable, but super also affects hip pockets after people leave the workforce.”

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Although the recently announced 2022 Federal Budget was largely meant to be a budget to get the government re-elected, it didn’t contain much in the way of super policy reform, apart from a pre-budget extension of the reduced minimum super drawdown amount – the amount retirees must withdraw from their super each year.

“The superannuation system in Australia is one of our national treasures, admired around the world, but it’s important that we don’t take it for granted,” Ms Scheerlinck says. 

“We need to keep on improving outcomes for all Australians.”

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In particular, the Budget contained no measures to tackle the large gender gap in super, where women are retiring with as much as 40 per cent less super than men.

“We hope to hear those standing for office explain during the campaign how they will help Australians with their retirement savings, particularly women, who spend more time out of the workforce caring for children and family, as well as vulnerable Australians,” Ms Scheerlinck says.

The super gender gap is having a dramatic effect on retirement outcomes between the sexes. It is estimated that around 405,000 women in Australia over the age of 45 are now at risk of homelessness, the fastest growing homeless group.

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Written by Brad Lockyer

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