Minister ‘ambivalent’ about promised increase in superannuation

Coalition backbenchers have been lobbying Senator Hume to abandon the promised increase.

Coalition backbenchers have been lobbying Senator Hume to abandon the promised increase. Photo: AAP

Australia’s minister for superannuation is “ambivalent” about a legislated rise in employer contributions to retirement savings.

Jane Hume also continues to play down concerns about people raiding their super accounts during the coronavirus economic crisis.

The federal government has promised to lift the super guarantee levy to 10 per cent from July 2021.

But Senator Hume is facing a concerted campaign from Coalition backbenchers to abandon the super rise.

Senator Hume said the increase was legislated and as far she knew, still going ahead.

“The legislation is already there, it’s already set to rise,” she told ABC radio on Monday.

“I’m reasonably ambivalent on the issue, to tell you the truth. I think this is a decision that really should be based on the circumstances at the time.”

Superannuation guarantee contributions had originally been legislated under a Labor government to increase by 0.5 per cent a year from the 2014-15 financial year until they reached 12 per cent.

The Coalition government froze those increases in 2013-14, although it retained the planned July 2021 rise.

The federal government has received a review into retirement incomes that analysed the super rise in great depth but it is yet to be released.

It also allowed early access to super funds during the pandemic, which 2.7 million people acted on.

More than $33 billion has been withdrawn.

Senator Hume said that equated to just 1 per cent of the $3 trillion super system.

She claimed most people who emptied their savings were either temporary migrants or simply closing dormant accounts.

Fresh analysis from AlphaBeta has found nearly 40 per cent of people who have dipped into their super during the pandemic have not experienced any decline in their income.

Its research found two-thirds of the money was spent on non-essentials.

Senator Hume questioned the accuracy of the data, saying it did not accord with information from the tax office.

Funds trader BetaShares has criticised the “misguided” early super access scheme, saying it will come at a significant cost to future governments and generations of taxpayers.


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