Three of Australia’s largest trade unions have joined forces to urge the government to accelerate plans for an increase in superannuation.
The compulsory superannuation guarantee is set to rise from 9.5 per cent in five annual increases starting from July 2021, taking it to 12 per cent from 1 July 2027.
However, there is some talk among Liberals as to whether the guarantee should be frozen, and earlier this year Finance Minister Mathias Cormann ruled out bringing forward the current timetable.
Members of the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), representing over half a million workers, went to the federal parliament to lobby the government to raise the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent immediately, as they believe the impact of the delay has been “significant”.
ANMF assistant federal secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said that the disparity in super outcomes for women – women on average have 53 per cent of the superannuation retirement savings of men – needs to be addressed now.
“We need reform that addresses the current gender pay gap, prioritises an increase to the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent, and includes the superannuation guarantee in the Commonwealth parental leave scheme so that women are not penalised for taking time to raise their families,” she said.
“It’s also time to remove the exemption that allows employers to avoid paying super to employees who earn less than $450 per month. Aged care workers who may work for multiple employers within a month but earn less than $450 in each role are currently paid no superannuation. Woman are over-represented in part-time and casual positions in the workforce. This $450 exemption to the superannuation guarantee disproportionately affects women.”
ASU assistant national secretary Linda White agreed, adding that 70 per cent of women have estimated balances under $150,000 and almost a quarter have balances less than $50,000.
“While Australia has been starved of a pay rise, companies have reported higher profits in everything from banking to aged care, and these companies can afford to share those profits, so the government should honour their promise to raise super to 12 per cent,” she said.
“What’s more, it should be done immediately – now is not the time to continue the freeze, as women have lost too much money already.”
The troika argued that the disparity leaves women susceptible to “poverty and homelessness in retirement”, and held meetings with members of parliament to urge them to protect the super system.
“The superannuation system was established to provide a safety net for working people in retirement, and it must be protected and improved. Any attempts by politicians to make super optional will undermine the viability of the whole system and force retirees into poverty,” they said in a statement.Do you have an idea for a story?
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