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Patronising and impoverished Grattan grab for attention on super objective

Media Release 13 January 2017

13 January 2017

Patronising and impoverished Grattan grab for attention on super objective

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) today strongly repudiated claims made by the Grattan Institute that the age pension and rent assistance would provide an adequate or acceptable retirement for Australians. 

ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said the Grattan Institute’s willingness to condemn hard-working Australians to a life of near poverty in retirement was patronising and represented poor public policy.

“The submission from Grattan, to the Senate Standing Economics Committee Inquiry into the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, is attacking a super system internationally acknowledged as first class and one that is delivering a higher standard of living for retirees,” he said.

Dr Fahy said Grattan’s claim that annual expenditure of $43,372 for a single and $59,619* for a couple at age 65 would deliver a luxurious lifestyle suggests the think tank is out of touch with the reality of living costs in Australia.

“The ASFA comfortable standard is based on a detailed analysis of the level of spending needed to meet the realities of retirement, including: health and aged care with the associated out-of-pocket medical expenses; running a modest car; basic home maintenance; and, being able to run air conditioning in summer and heating in winter,” he said.

“The super system is working to provide more and more Australians with a comfortable retirement as the system matures. This is an excellent public policy achievement particularly when it is done at a fraction of the budgetary impost of systems in most other countries.

“ASFA projections show that those reaching a comfortable standard of living in retirement will increase from around 20 per cent now to 40 per cent of Australians by 2040, based on current settings and including the increase in Super Guarantee payments to 12 per cent.

“With increasing longevity, we want Australians to be healthier and more active in their retirement, not poorer and sicker.”

Dr Fahy said ASFA believes Australians are justifiably worried about longevity and aged and heath care costs in retirement and superannuation is a big part of the solution.

“Super makes a substantive difference to retirement incomes, including for low income earners,” he said.

Dr Fahy said Australians don’t aspire to retire on the age pension and Grattan’s aspirations fly in the face of a long tradition of a progressive improvement in living standards for successive generations.

For further information, please contact:

Teresa Mullan, Media Manager, 0451 949 300.

About ASFA

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, which aims to advance effective retirement outcomes for members of funds through research, advocacy and the development of policy and industry best practice.

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