The “attack” on superannuation by the Government is as deliberate and calculated as its attack on wages, according to Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers.
Chalmers spoke at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference and said the damage done to wages in recent years was deliberate and pointed to words that the “Government’s longest-serving finance minister once confessed low wages was a deliberate design feature of the Government’s economic policy. I think the more recent industrial relation changes and the cuts to penalty rates a few years ago is more proof of this”.
“To pretend now that their motivation to cut super is higher wages growth stretches credibility to breaking point. The Morrison Government should stop pretending another super freeze is about higher wages instead of higher super, when the truth is they want neither and they have from on both,” he said.
“And the Government can’t argue the economy is too strong to support certain workers, industries and communities at the same time as it’s too weak for employers to afford modest increases in the Super Guarantee staggered over five years.
“Instead of developing a plan to boost wages and retirement incomes at the same time, the Government wants to undermine both, by framing it as a simple but fundamentally false choice. Attacks on super are as deliberate and calculated as their attacks on wages.”
Chalmers said the country was dealing with a Liberal Party that was going down a spiral of “dangerous ideology and extreme partisan envy taking workers’ wages and super with it”.
“No governing party which genuinely believes in super would undermine it so frequently. No party governing in the interests of ordinary Australian working families would do so much damage to retirement incomes,” he said.
“No government on the side of people who work and struggle would see the answer to weak wages and inadequate retirement incomes as even weaker wages and even less super.
“No well-intentioned guardian of the system would undermine industry funds by making it harder for them to advocate for members, and introduce performance benchmarking changes that encourage more administration fees and discourage investment in national infrastructure.”
If that Labor party was in power, Chalmers said, it would tackle super adequacy issues.
“Clearly there are issues with adequacy, and this was turbo charged with people running down their balances during the pandemic. The adequacy issue is particularly acute when it comes to the massive gender gap in super and so those issues will be a priority clearly and we’ll make sure we get the superannuation guarantee to 12% and make sure we’re dealing with the wages side of that equation as well,” he said.