2 December 2017
Media Release - #2017113, 2017

Royal Commission Terms of Reference are appropriate, says O’Dwyer

Criticism that superannuation and insurance should not have been included in the Royal Commission into the Financial Services sector is misguided and unwarranted, according to the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer.

"Superannuation represents for many people their second largest financial asset, and for younger people, their largest financial asset," Minister O'Dwyer said.

"The APRA regulated superannuation sector is worth more than $1.6 trillion and is structurally significant within the Australian economy. It would have been absurd if we had not included superannuation and insurance in the terms of reference for the Royal Commission.

"There is no compelling case to carve out superannuation from this inquiry – especially given that the superannuation system operates under a compulsory model where people are forced to put 9.5 per cent of their wages away until retirement.

"Previous calls for a Royal Commission by both the Labor Party and by the Greens had also called for superannuation to be included in a banking inquiry, but now we have hysterical fear-mongering from industry funds and from the trade unions demanding that they receive special treatment and be excluded from the Royal Commission.

"In July Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen told a superannuation industry conference that a "Labor Royal Commission" would not exclude industry funds and this week Mr Bowen repeated that Labor was in agreement that superannuation should be included in the work of the Royal Commission."

"We're more than happy for superannuation to be examined by the Royal Commission," Mr Bowen told the ABC's 7:30 program.

Minister O'Dwyer said the over-the-top reaction by industry superannuation lobbyists and the trade union movement was yet another attempt, in an ongoing multi-million dollar campaign of misinformation, to distract and deflect from the real benefits to super fund members of the Government's member outcomes reform package which will protect members' money and members' interests across the entire superannuation sector including bank owned, retail, industry, corporate and public sector superannuation funds.

The Government's legislation, to be considered by the Senate this week, will for the first time introduce a consistent, minimum standard to require all funds to have at least some truly independent directors, underpinned by a strong, objective definition of independence enshrined in the legislation."

"Any part of Australia's financial services sector with nothing to hide will have nothing to fear from a Royal Commission or the Turnbull Government's superannuation reforms," Minister O'Dwyer said.

"Superannuation members will have much to gain in confidence through a system which is transparent, accountable, with independent oversight and a strong prudential regulator.