Thursday, 25 February 2021
Treasury Laws Amendment (Reuniting More Superannuation) Bill 2020; Second Reading
I'm delighted that all of the amendments presented by One Nation to the government in relation to this bill have been accepted by the government. As always, we have carefully scrutinised the proposed legislation and our representation to the government was based on our acting in the best interests of the Australian people. The amendments allow for voluntary transfers by trustees to the ATO, ensuring better efficiencies for superannuation funds. The amendments have resulted from discussions with superannuation funds generally and, as requested, to improve the original government bill.
During consultation, it was revealed the law would prevent some amounts being transferred to the ATO. This is because the relevant legislation, the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999, relies on concepts of member and account to enable transfers. An eligible rollover fund is a fund that is eligible to receive benefits rolled over, as the name suggests, from another fund without member consent. During consultation, funds advised that some amounts they would ordinarily transfer to eligible rollover funds relate to former members who no longer have accounts. The amendments rectify this situation by providing trustees the opportunity to voluntarily transfer any amount for any member, former member or non-member spouse.
Currently, eligible rollover funds can only send accounts to the ATO if they meet very specific conditions under the unclaimed superannuation regime or the protecting your super regime. These amendments will allow trustees of eligible rollover funds to voluntarily transfer any amount to the Australian Taxation Office, the ATO. Furthermore, these amendments will provide trustees a broad capacity to transfer superannuation to the ATO in circumstances where this is in the best interests of the member. We are advised that there are currently over half a million accounts in eligible rollover funds.
The rationale behind these amendments is that, by facilitating amounts eligible rollover funds transfer to the ATO, it should more proactively reunify funds to account holders rather than via eligible rollover funds with members, active superannuation accounts or, where appropriate, directly into peoples' bank accounts. Plus, superannuation held by the ATO will be held in a fee-free environment and paid interest at CPI. Therefore, by reuniting those lost accounts' members more quickly, it will result in higher account balances and account holders no longer paying multiple sets of fees by being placed in a no-fee environment where they will earn interest at CPI. The amendments provide obligations on the ATO to pay amounts received to a single fund on being satisfied in accordance with 22(b)(2) of the amendments. One Nation is supporting the amendment and the bill.