Thursday, 18 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is also to the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, Senator Hume. Can the minister confirm that there is up to $13.8 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation waiting for Australians to find and also advise what measures the Morrison government have put in place to make it easier for people to claim their lost super, including in my home state of Tasmania?
I thank Senator Askew for this question. This is indeed a terrific opportunity. That's exactly right: there is $13.8 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation that is simply waiting to be claimed by ordinary Australians. In fact, New South Wales tops the nation in unclaimed amounts—around $3.4 billion—and New South Wales holds six of the top 10 postcodes. My home state of Victoria follows with $2.2 billion in unclaimed or lost super. Then, in your home state, Senator Watt, $1.9 billion is sitting there. In Western Australia there's $1.2 billion. In South Australia it's $800 million and in the ACT it's $230 million. Indeed even the Northern Territory has around $160 million in lost and unclaimed super waiting to find a home. Senator Askew's home state of Tasmania is also on the list, with $135 billion in lost and unclaimed super. In fact, beautiful Launceston, where Senator Askew is a terrific representative, ranks as the No. 1 postcode in her state for lost and unclaimed amounts.
This is Australians' hard-earned wages. It could be from your first job or a casual job that you held years ago and forgot all about. You may have changed your name. You may have changed your address. You may have lost your super fund from many years ago because it's been inactive for a period of time. But, by law, your super fund is now, thanks to the Morrison government, required to transfer certain amounts to the ATO, which then becomes unclaimed super money. Unlike super funds, the ATO does not charge fees and, thanks to the reforms passed by this government, it proactively consolidates any unclaimed money into an eligible and active account wherever possible. So I encourage all senators to review the lost amounts data and share that news with their constituents.
It is in fact very easy to find your lost or unclaimed super. It is also very quick—quicker than it takes to order a cup of coffee. You can find out if a slice of that $13.8 billion belongs to you. All you have to do is jump onto the myGov website, link to the ATO portal and click the 'manage my super' link. It is that easy. So if you've lost or you have forgotten your super it will be sitting there waiting for you. You can scroll through and you can actually consolidate your lost and forgotten amounts into your active primary super fund all for free, making sure that your super works much harder for you. It is that simple. The government has requested that the ATO do that work on your behalf. So there's no need to search. There's no need to hand over information. If you have forgotten super, the ATO will use data-matching technology that only the ATO has to match your lost super to you. That all happens right in your myGov account.
I am very proud to inform the Senate that the Morrison government has already reunited Australians with billions of dollars in lost and unclaimed superannuation. Data released by the ATO for the financial year ending June 2020 shows that the Morrison government's reforms have had an enormous impact on the retirement balances of millions of Australians, reducing unclaimed super by around $7 billion, compared to 30 June 2019. In just seven months, $7 billion in lost and unclaimed super has been reunited into the accounts of hardworking Australians. This is on top of the Morrison government's incredibly effective Protecting Your Super reforms, which allowed for the proactive reuniting of lost and unclaimed super, and also capped fees on low-balance and inactive accounts, making your super work so much harder for you.