Media Releases

3 February 2020

ASFA: Retirement system objectives critical to successful public policy

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has called for the Retirement Income Review to articulate and maintain the important role superannuation plays in lifting the living standards of Australians in retirement.

Speaking today, ASFA CEO, Dr Martin Fahy, said: “The Review panel has the opportunity to establish a credible, conclusive fact base that will position Australia’s retirement income system for future success. This can only be achieved if the facts about the lived experience of retirement are taken into consideration”.

Commenting on ASFA’s submission to the Review, Dr Fahy added: “The Review must consider the facts about how rising food and energy prices hit retirees hip pockets, the facts of provisioning for burgeoning health and aged care expenses and the facts about how much it costs to live a financially secure, decent life in retirement.

That’s the real retirement fact base and that’s what Australians need the panel to assess. Anything less risks ongoing policy instability and uncertainty.”

ASFA’s submission encourages the Review panel to look broadly at the system, go beyond analysis of fiscal and budgetary implications, and to tackle the vexed issue of retirement income adequacy.

“We know that the fiscal cost of the system compared to international counterparts is very low and sustainable over the long term – the data is clear on that.

The focus should be on what the system delivers and how we bridge the gaps, particularly for low income earners, so that all Australians can live a decent retirement. That is the end game here and it makes sense that it should be a core focus area for the Review,” Dr Fahy added.

ASFA has long advocated for removing the $450 per month earnings threshold, adding SG to paid parental leave and maintaining the low-income superannuation tax offset.

“Going to 12 per cent SG doesn’t represent an extravagant standard of living for retirees. It’s about getting 50% of Australians to around 70% of average weekly earnings by 2050.

Australians know what their superannuation is for – it is there to deliver a dignified standard of living that respects the contribution retirees have made to the nation across their working lives and affords them the respect they deserve in a country like ours.

This should be embedded at the heart of the system to end the constant change and tinkering to meet annual Budget imperatives.”

ASFA reiterated the call for Treasury to release its MARIA model which will be used as part of this review.

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.