House debates

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Questions without Notice


3:07 pm

Photo of Kelly O'DwyerKelly O'Dwyer (Higgins, Liberal Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | Hansard source

Another great question from the very hardworking member for Robertson. The hardworking member for Robertson knows that this government, of course, has a plan to have a very strong economic future for all Australians, but particularly for women. One of the features of our budget and of our government is to make sure that we change the superannuation system so that women can save more for their retirement. We are providing flexibility and more incentives for those women to save for their retirement because we know that women are more likely to experience interrupted work patterns that can include: taking time out to care for children or to care for loved ones. That contributes to women having lower lifetime earnings and, therefore, lower superannuation balances.

We know that, on average, women retire with around 35 per cent less superannuation and that they outlive men. But, knowing these facts, what has the Turnbull government decided to do about it? We have acted to allow women to make catch-up payments for their superannuation when they return to the workforce. They will be able to use the unused parts of their concessional cap on a rolling five-year basis if they have balances of less than $500,000 in their retirement savings. For the member for Robertson, this will actually help her constituent, Amy—who takes a year away from work to care for her baby and earns no income that year—so that she can then contribute up to $50,000 concessionally the following year when she returns to work. We are also extending the current spouse tax offset to help families to support each other to further accumulate superannuation savings. If her constituent, Amy, goes back to work part time and she earns less than $37,000, then her partner, Steve, is able to now put money into her superannuation account and get a tax offset of up to $540.

We are also supporting low-income earners, who are more likely to be women, to accumulate superannuation through the low-income superannuation tax offset. This replaces the low-income superannuation contribution, but it deals with it through the taxation system, not the payment system, as those opposite would like, and it helps around two million Australian women. Women should not be economically disadvantaged if they have interrupted work patterns. This government is determined to make sure they are not and it is determined to ensure that women can save for their retirement and can have a strong retirement income. That is what we stand for on this side of the House.


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