Labor’s announcement of its plans for superannuation is still unclear, after the party refused to rule out a controversial tax measure announced by the Coalition in Budget 2016/17.
The anti-detriment payment, which is a payment passed on to dependents of super fund holders after a fund holder dies before retirement age, will cease from 1 July 2017. Labor’s factoring in of $5–6 billion in tax savings may be an indication that it will also ditch the anti-detriment payment, effectively leaving widows and orphans out of pocket.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has also expressed concerns about the $500,000 lifetime cap proposed by the Coalition in Budget 2016/17, but he claims that, should Labor drop the cap if elected, it would have to find $550 million in revenue over four years from other sources.
The Labor party has indicated that it would adopt most, but not all, of the Government’s proposed changes to super.
Mr Bowen has assured voters that, if elected, Labor will consult all available ‘resources’ before making a final decision on the $500,000 lifetime cap, prompting claims that the party is keeping voters in the dark over its plans for super.
“We’re committed to raising the same amount of money as the government … we’d like to consult with the sector, from government, with the resources of Treasury to ensure that any measures that we implement are implemented in a very fair manner. The government is the one committed to the retrospective tax changes,” said Mr Bowen. “We’ve expressed grave concern about the retrospective nature of one measure in particular, the $500,000 cap. We want to sit down with the sector and work out the best way to proceed to raise the same amount of money.”
The Labor party was first out of the blocks with policies to change super tax concessions announced as early as 2015. The Turnbull Government followed suit in Budget 2016/17 with cuts to generous super concessions. The intent of the Coalition and Labor parties’ policies is similar, although the individual changes are quite different.
Since the beginning of the Election 2016 campaign, Labor has been critical of the Coalition’s superannuation changes, so it would now seem that Labor is being very cautious in accepting or reviewing any super policies.
What do you think of both parties’ superannuation policies? Do you feel you have enough information to make an informed decision at the polling booth? Or are you just totally confused and disengaged with the ceaseless tinkering with super?