Wednesday, 4 August 2021
Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response — Better Advice) Bill 2021; Second Reading
[by video link] I can never understand why members of the coalition government are always ridiculing Australia's superannuation system. It's something that we should be proud of. It's one of the best retirement savings systems in the world. The proof of that is in the statistics, with $3.1 trillion in the Australian superannuation system at the beginning of this year. That's the fourth-largest pool of investment savings of any nation in the world, and, when you look at that in the context of the fact that Australia has the 55th-largest population of any nation in the world, the fact that we have the fourth-largest pool of retirement savings generally indicates that we're batting well above our average. This is something that we should be proud of. It's evidence of a system that is working and delivering the retirement savings that Australians need, to avoid being on the age pension. But whenever coalition MPs and senators get the opportunity, they will always try and slag off the Australian superannuation system. I think it comes down to jealousy at the end of the day, really. I think they're jealous of the fact that a Labor government, working with the union movement and employers, set up one of the world's best retirement savings systems and one which is achieving high rates of return and low fees for most members of industry superannuation funds. That's a great shame. It's certainly not a team Australia moment when you're criticising one of the world's leading superannuation systems that was established by a Labor government.
Our pool of superannuation funds is growing, and that's a great thing. The average superannuation balance is growing; it's about $180,000 now. The number of self-managed superannuation funds is also growing. There's been about 15 per cent growth in the number of SMSFs over the course of the last five years.
All of this means that there is a great need in our community for good-quality financial advice, and this bill goes to, hopefully, ensuring that we implement the recommendations of the royal commission around delivering better quality financial advice here in Australia. The importance of quality advice comes down to a few factors. One is transparency: ensuring that advisers are transparent with their clients about fees, about commissions and, importantly, about any potential conflicts of interest. We're ensuring that the legal requirements for the establishment and the operation of [inaudible]—