Enshrining super broadly welcomed

Advocacy bodies have largely welcomed the Federal Government's move to commence enshrining super objectives in legislation, adding that enshrining the purpose and principles of the system would allow for a conversation about tax concessions that support the system.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) said the purpose of the super system as outlined by the Government in its discussion paper is to substitute or supplement the Age Pension, but added that the system was still maturing and broken work patterns still put people at a disadvantage.

ASFA chief executive, Pauline Vamos, also agreed with the Government that the super system should not be used as a vehicle for estate planning.

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"We can achieve this by reviewing how much individuals are able to accumulate in the system. ASFA supports the establishment of a measure of adequacy and proposes that the ASFA comfortable retirement standard be adopted as the standard which the community aspires to in retirement," she said.

"ASFA also welcomes the Productivity Commission review into the efficiency of the system and look forward to the release of a draft framework to enable the development of greater choice in products providing income streams throughout retirement.

"ASFA strongly supports the development of bipartisan legislation that will de-politicise the debate."

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chief executive, Tom Garcia, said the enshrinement would protect super from constant, ad-hoc policy changes.

"Just about every week brings a different proposal for super which must be causing great uncertainty for Australians saving for their retirement," he said.

"Since the start of this year alone, we've had calls for super to pay off university debt, for super to save the agricultural industry, for super to pay off home loans and for low-income earners to opt out of compulsory super altogether."

Meanwhile, Industry Super Australia chief executive, David Whiteley, said: "Hopefully, it will also help to liberate superannuation policy from the constant unhelpful political tinkering that comes with the Budget and election cycles."

The Financial Services Council (FSC) said defining super objectives was vital to develop a mature super sector to deliver optimal outcomes, along with the Financial System Inquiry's recommendations to raise governance standards and promote competition in super.

It was also pleased the Opposition had indicated bipartisan support for enshrining the definition of super in legislation.

Challenger chief executive, Brian Benari, also welcomed the Government's move, stressing that clarifying the purpose of super would provide a framework to build policies and innovation opportunities to tackle Australia's ageing population.

"This is an important step forward for the sustainability of the superannuation industry and will help make a meaningful difference to Australia's retirees," Benari said.

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