This submission builds upon the submission the ACTU made to the Treasury Consultation on the Retirement Income Covenant consultation paper, which is attached.

As stated in that submission, superannuation is an essential vehicle for workers to maintain their standard of living from their working life into retirement. Superannuation should supplement the Age Pension in retirement, and the Age Pension should be at a level which affords dignity to every worker.

The objective of Australia’s retirement system is to ensure no one retires into poverty. Despite this, due to unaffordable housing, an inadequate age pension, and a superannuation guarantee which is too low, the system fails this objective. In legislating for the Retirement Income Covenant, the Government is not solving the challenge for workers who retire with too little, with inequality, or without affordable housing or rents. Rather it is putting forward a solution to retirement incomes for those who have adequate savings and are unsure how to best utilise them. This is a luxury that swathes of our population do not have.

To ensure that every worker retires with dignity the Government should scrap its campaigns against the legislated increase to the Superannuation Guarantee, reverse its cuts to the pension through the Age Pension Assets Test, and reform tax concessions in superannuation to ensure they are better targeted. The Government should immediately legislate for its budget promise of abolishing the $450 per month minimum threshold for SG eligibility, and ensure every worker has the right to take action to recover their unpaid super. Women retire with less than half the superannuation of men, on average, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workers with even less. Urgent restorative action to achieve equality and adequacy for these workers is needed.