The Government needs to move the superannuation policy settings to better encourage voluntary contributions, according to BT Financial Group chief executive, Brad Cooper.
Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Cooper lamented the likelihood of retirement adequacy being achieved in Australia.
"I believe we need to stop talking about superannuation in subsistence terms. Subsistence is not a goal - it's a safety net. The goal should be living - not existence."
"To shift super balances towards a healthy income replacement rate, we need to acknowledge the importance of voluntary contributions in our system," Cooper said.
He said superannuation had moved on from the discussion of its role in the social wage.
"It now needs to be a system that compels and encourages people to retire on 65 or 70 per cent of their average earnings," Cooper said.
He said the tax treatment of super had a large impact.
"Anything taken out of superannuation now will have to be paid back later," Cooper said.
"We have to redefine what we want from the superannuation system. When we've done that we need bi-partisan support and to only refine the system with the long-term in mind."
Cooper said the temptation to cut today and kick the burden into the future was too great.