1 November 2017
Media Release - #2017107, 2017

In the role of: Minister for Revenue and Financial Services [19 July 2016 - 28 August 2018]

ACTU misleading and conflicted on super reforms

The ACTU is deliberately setting out to mislead MPs over important, long overdue reforms that will put the retirement savings of millions of workers on a sound footing for the coming decades.

A so-called "dossier" on bad bank behaviour and remuneration of bank executives is unrelated to the Government's proposed superannuation reforms, which apply equally to all superannuation funds. The Turnbull Government's super reforms will give members a greater say in how their fund is run, place downward pressure on fees, and prevent unnecessary insurance premiums draining the balances of young workers. They will make super funds more transparent and accountable for how they spend members' money with a strong prudential regulator.

"These reforms are designed to lift all super funds to a minimum standard of independent oversight, they apply across the board to all funds and do not benefit one sector of the industry over another," Minister O'Dwyer said.

"The ACTU and affiliated unions have, according to documents lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission, received at least $53 million from super funds over the past decade, much of which is from 'sponsorships' and directors fees which are often paid directly to trade unions, and are clearly seeking to protect their own financial interests.

"These reforms will give APRA, the regulator more powers to look into funds that are not performing, and the ability to probe funds that are misspending members' money. Funds that perform well, whether they are industry funds, retail funds or corporate funds, will perform better through these reforms and have nothing to fear."

The ACTU says the reforms will result in super funds being "stacked". In fact, the reforms will ensure all funds, including for-profit funds, have a minimum of one third of directors who are without conflict including an independent chair.

"Australians deserve the best and brightest minds sitting around the table making the right decisions free from conflict or vested interest. For industry funds the equal representation model of employers and union representatives can remain. Some industry funds already have one third independent directors.

"The ACTU's "dossier" is a smokescreen to protect the money from super funds that flow into its coffers each year.

"The $2.3 trillion in superannuation belongs only to the hard working Australian people – not the government, not the banks, not shareholders, not executives and not the trade unions.

"I urge MPs not to be distracted by this deliberately misleading and self-interested campaign."