Neither of the major political parties have adequately addressed the Age Pension taper rate, according to industry funds representative body, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
In an analysis of the superannuation policy approaches being offered by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal/National Party Coalition, the AIST has surprised no one by giving higher marks to the ALP but has marked both sides down on the pension taper rate.
AIST chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck said neither party had made a clear commitment to addressing concerns with the Age Pension taper rate, which was too steep and denied many retirees with relatively low super balances access to the part Age Pension.
“We think the current taper rate is unfair and this need to be addressed to restore integrity in the super system,” she said.
The AIST had produced a policy scorecard rating the ALP’s policies against that of the Government and concluded that “Labor’s policies will have more positive impact on superannuation and the retirement outcomes for most working Australians”.
Scheerlinck said Labor’s package of reforms - which included reforms to improve women’s balances, addressing unpaid super and reducing tax concessions for high income earners – would improve the fairness and sustainability of Australia’s retirement income system.
She claimed key Coalition superannuation policies were more limited and would largely benefit wealthier individuals with the means to make voluntary contributions.
“The nation’s ageing population, changing work conditions, the gender pay gap and falling levels of home ownership are among the key issues that need to be considered in developing appropriate superannuation and retirement policies,” Scheerlinck said.
“Good superannuation policy needs to be firmly focused on the long-term, with the aim to ensure that all genders and generations get a fair deal. This includes the young and old, those working full-time as well as those working part-time, and those taking time out of the workforce to care for family members, which is the situation for many women in our community.”
Scheerlinck said AIST particularly welcomed Labor’s commitment to removing the $450 monthly income threshold that currently prevents many women who are working multiple jobs or part-time from receiving super contributions.
“If Labor is elected, we look forward to it going further to address the gender super gap by introducing a mechanism that targets those most in need with additional super contributions,” she said.