Australia's peak superannuation body says it's great news for fund members that the Government in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released today has not tinkered with the basic tax structure of the superannuation system. This means that members of superannuation funds are able to continue to plan for their retirement with confidence.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) recognises the Government's budget position but stressed that the superannuation system is more than pulling its weight in terms of contributing to bringing the budget back to surplus.
"The Government in successive budgets and statements since 2009-10 have already achieved $7.5 billion in budget savings from superannuation," said ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos. "Further changes to the taxation of superannuation or tightening of contribution caps are neither necessary or desirable. It is good that the MYEFO process accepts this".
Ms Vamos also said that one of the most significant changes that members of superannuation funds should be aware of is changes to the arrangements applying to unclaimed monies and lost members. This has the potential to bring over $500 million into consolidated revenue. The most important action that members of funds must do is find their lost super (visit www.superguru.com.au to find out how), consolidate their accounts and ensure that their super fund has their latest contact details.
ASFA is also pleased that the MYEFO statement recognises the need for levies on all superannuation funds to match the reasonable costs involved in their supervision and other related activities. In particular we are pleased to see a reduction in the SuperStream levy on the APRA-regulated sector is foreshadowed. The Australian Taxation Office will also be better funded through the increase in the levy on self-managed superannuation funds.
The Government has also announced funding for a Superannuation Consumer Centre which we anticipate will focus on those areas of emerging consumer issues across the whole financial services system. One of ASFA's key policy positions is the provision of information and assistance to superannuation fund members, for instance the Super Guru website established by ASFA provides considerable information and assistance in regard to the superannuation of individuals.
The MYEFO documents also announce a number of relatively minor changes relating to the rollover of balances and payment of benefits that will simplify administration and assist members. ASFA asked for such changes and is pleased that they are being implemented. They will bring about greater certainty for both funds and members.
Finally, the Government today announced the establishment of a SuperStream advisory council. It is essential that the SuperStream program be delivered in such a way as to maximise the benefits for employers, funds and fund members. According to Ms Vamos, "the members of the advisory council that were announced today have the high-level skills and experience to make SuperStream a success".
For media inquiries, please contact:
Pauline Vamos, CEO, 0433 169 342
Rebecca Glenn, GM Marketing and Communications, (02) 8079 0825 or 0416 170 439
Megan McDougall, Media and Communications Coordinator, (02) 8079 0849
ASFA is the peak policy, research and advocacy body for Australia's superannuation industry. It is a not-for-profit, sector-neutral, and non-party political national organisation whose aim is to advance effective retirement outcomes for members of funds through research, advocacy and the development of policy and industry best practice.