Standard ACTU introduction words from the last couple of submissions.

Structure and Principles of the Superannuation System

The ACTU has enunciated its view in several recent Inquiries as to the structure and principles of the superannuation system in Australia. The ACTU believes it is entitled to put forward this view given the pivotal role which has been afforded to the Union movement since the mid-1980’s to essentially be the guardians of a universal system of superannuation – one which has been eminently successful in building adequacy for Australian workers in a uniform, high performing manner; a system which has greatly assisted Australia through the Global Financial crisis and has built a strong and vibrant investment framework, particularly in areas like infrastructure. Further this has all been achieved in an environment effectively untarnished by scandal and in a manner which has high levels of confidence and support by the Australian population.

The ACTU’s view of the structure and principles of the superannuation system is best set out in our submission to the Treasury Inquiry into the Objective of Superannuation. In that Inquiry we reinforced the point that the ultimate aim of the system is to deliver the highest level of accumulated benefit to retiring Australian workers as was possible. 

Our Objective for Superannuation was the following:- 

“Superannuation, together with the Aged Pension, should provide for an Australian worker to maintain his or her standard of living when he or she retires from the paid workforce or reaches the national retirement age”

The ACTU went on to define the following as essential features which are needed to facilitate this Objective:-

  1. Adequate funding of the superannuation system as part of the worker’s remuneration during their time in the paid workforce or equivalent service in the unpaid workforce. 

  2. The designation of appropriate funds into which occupational superannuation should be paid and from which retirement income is to be drawn, subject to those funds meeting appropriate standards in their governance, efficiency and performance. 

  3. Encouragement of a reasonable level of voluntary contributions to support the primary objective. 

  4. Fair and progressive tax treatment. 

  5. Interaction with the Aged Pension system to form a complementary approach to meeting the primary objective. 

  6. Investment of funds on a long term risk ad-adjusted basis in which the dual objectives of investing in the members’ best interests and investing in the national interest are able to be addressed in as complementary a manner as is possible.