Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services. Will the minister advise the House how the government is making it easier for Australians to contribute to securing their retirement? Is the minister aware of any threats to improving superannuation balances?
Thanks very much to the member for Robertson for her question. I have had the opportunity to visit her electorate with her, and I know what a passionate advocate she is for those Australians in her community who are working hard to secure a future for themselves and for their retirement.
Like the member for Robertson, the Turnbull government wants to give those hardworking Australians the tools to help them to save for their retirement. We want them to be able to be self-reliant in their retirement. Our flexibility measures, announced in our superannuation reform package, will help those people to achieve just that. We are levelling the playing field for Australians to provide concessional contributions for their retirement. It will not matter whether somebody is employed by a small business or a large business, because both will allow them to provide concessional contributions. We are making sure that those people who receive part of a salary or part of an income earned through their small business are not disadvantaged—that every single Australian will be able to make a contribution, which will advantage more than 800,000 Australians.
We also think it is very important that those people who spend time out of the workforce are able to catch up on their concessional contributions, and we are allowing from 1 July 2018 a rolling catch-up on concessional contributions for people who have superannuation balances of less than $500,000. There are more than 230,000 Australians in that group. It is very important for women who have taken time out of the workforce because they are caring for a small infant. We know that women retire, on average, with a balance of around $138,000 compared to men, who have a retirement balance on average of around $292,000. It is important for carers, it is important for small business people—it is important for anybody who has an irregular income.
The member for Robertson has asked: 'Are there any threats?' I am afraid to say that there are, and they are sitting opposite. Today Labor announced with their latest superannuation package that they are going to rip more tax out of the superannuation system and they are going to stop this very important flexibility measure. This is on the same day that the Labor Party has announced that they are going to decrease taxes for foreign workers—they are not going to charge these backpackers as much tax but they are going to make it harder for people with superannuation balances of less than $500,000 to save for their retirement. Shame on them.