Media Releases

20 August 2020

Let superannuation grow the economy, don’t let anti-retirement groups shrink it

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) today released a new report: The role of the superannuation industry in supporting the Australian economy.

“As we continue to fight COVID-19 and face a combined health, social and economic crisis not seen since the Spanish Flu, superannuation has not only supported millions of Australians in their retirement but is also helping millions more in their moment of need,” said ASFA Deputy CEO, Glen McCrea.

“However, the benefits of superannuation do not flow only to individual members. Superannuation underpins our economy, investing heavily in productivity-boosting assets that are essential as we navigate out of this economic crisis.”

Key findings in the report

  • Today, $350 billion (or nearly 20 per cent of total assets in APRA-regulated superannuation funds) is invested in unlisted assets, including infrastructure assets such as airports, roads and ports and energy assets such as the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
  • Super is investing in affordable housing across Australia for those key workers currently saving lives, such as nurses, police and emergency workers.
  • As we deal with COVID-19, the superannuation industry is investing in hospitals, medical research and devices such as needle-free vaccines.

“As an investor, superannuation is in it for the long haul, not looking to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense,” said Mr McCrea.

“The savings mobilised by superannuation funds facilitate a long-term approach to investing. Super funds provide ‘patient’ capital for assets classes that are critical to Australia’s long-term growth, economic productivity and higher living standards.

“In the absence of super’s long-term investment outlook, many essential assets may not offer a high enough rate of return to attract the required funding. Indeed, some projects might not go ahead at all.

“The challenge we face is that there are a range of self-interest groups who are obsessed with dismantling superannuation on ideological grounds, thereby shrinking the economy – despite the evidence that Australia’s retirement system is the envy of the modern world.

“The key objective of super will always be to provide dignity in retirement—an objective it’s well on its way to achieving in the 30 years since it was introduced—but let’s not overlook the significant investment it makes in our economy.

“We need to allow superannuation to help Australia out of this crisis; don’t let anti-retirement groups shrink people’s future and our fragile economy.”

For further information, please contact:
Jacqui Maddock, 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. ASFA’s mission is to continuously improve the superannuation system, so all Australians can enjoy a comfortable and dignified retirement.