Next to their home, for most families, their superannuation savings are their single greatest asset. How well their superannuation fund performs directly impacts on their retirement income.
That is why it is critical that everybody should be able to choose what is best for them and for their future.
Currently around 2 million Australians have no choice in their superannuation fund – it is chosen for them because their employment is covered by an enterprise agreement or workplace determination.
They are forced to take the fund that has been determined for them – despite the fact that it might not be best for their personal circumstances, their stage of life, or their plans in retirement.
Worse, for these people, their retirement income is diminished in circumstances where they are forced to be part of two or more funds. Take the example of Alex. Alex is a student. He works part-time as a tutor at university. He is employed under the university enterprise agreement. He is forced to put his superannuation into the industry fund that has been designated for him by the university. Alex also works part-time at a major supermarket chain. Under this enterprise agreement he is forced to put his superannuation into a retail fund that has been designated for him by the supermarket chain. This means two funds, two sets of fees and two insurance premiums. It means greater complexity and possibly less retirement savings for Alex.
It doesn’t make sense that superannuation – a compulsory investment – allows for the decision on who is in control of Alex’s money to be made for him by an agreement over which he has no control.
The Turnbull Government’s improvements to the superannuation system will fix this. We will let Alex decide on his future by choosing his own fund, where he wants to do this.
In Australia the superannuation industry holds around $2 trillion of assets which will grow to around $9 trillion by 2040.
However, it is acknowledged that carers, traditionally women, are disadvantaged in the long term with the compulsory savings not matching those who remain in the workforce.
Many carers who are taking time off work to spend time with their young children are missing out on employer superannuation contributions.
As a working mother, I am in active discussions with the Prime Minister and Treasurer to see how this imbalance can be evened out.
We are committed to making sure that superannuation is working for all Australians; after all it is their savings.