Senate’s commitment to super welcomed
The union movement welcomes the Senate’s most recent commitment to protecting and improving superannuation for working people.
On 14 May, a motion moved by Senator McAllister was approved by the Senate despite opposition from the Government.
The motion outlined the Senate’s commitment to our world class superannuation system and recognised it as a national achievement for working-class people.
Senator McAllister’s motion also recognises the vital role superannuation plays in providing a dignified and comfortable retirement for working Australians.
The motion also underlined the importance of protecting superannuation savings from being drawn down early and that such action should be a last resort, not a first port of call for people facing financial hardship.
It also called upon the Government to redress the serious flaws in the superannuation system, through which it facilitated the theft of hundreds of workers’ retirement savings.
ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly said that superannuation savings remain the best way for working Australians to ensure a secure retirement.
“Scott Morrison’s Government needs to commit to protecting the system and making sure hard-working Australians retire with dignity,” Scott said.
Early release scheme leaves Australians worse off
The Federal government announcement allowing the early access of up to $20,000 of superannuation has left Australian workers worse off.
Modelling has shown that the early withdrawal of super funds can have a devastating impact in retirement; withdrawing $20,000 would result in $50,000 of lost income in retirement.
Mr Connolly said that given the significant impact of the coronavirus crisis on superannuation it is critical that we begin the work to rebuild workers’ retirement savings.
“Hundreds of thousands of workers have emptied their superannuation accounts under the Government’s early release scheme, and many may never make up the difference,” he said.
“We need to ensure that the mostly young, mostly low-income workers who have been forced by this Government to draw down on their super just to get by are not a generation lost to retirement poverty.
“The Government must also immediately commit to reimbursing the funds stolen from workers superannuation under this scheme.”
Super significant to IEUA-QNT members
Fair superannuation is the cornerstone of a comfortable retirement and has therefore remained a priority concern for our union since our establishment.
In 1988 our union took non-government employers to a full bench of the industrial commission following a sustained campaign to ensure our members received the three per cent superannuation payment that public sector employees had won a couple of years earlier.
Many IEUA-QNT members will also recall the landmark campaign in 2002 for 12.75% superannuation co-contribution, again arising out of a public sector outcome that gave their employees access to up to 12.75% super contribution from their employers.
Due to the dedicated collective action our members won access to a similar co-contribution scheme.
Fight for fair super continues
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said that as with any significant workplace provision, it is the responsibility of current union members not only to protect it but build upon it.
“Further fights for superannuation remain,” Mr Burke said.
“The current superannuation system favours high income workers who work full-time without taking significant career breaks, which is often why women are left behind by the system when they take breaks to care for children or other family members.
“Our members have already started to make gains in this area by securing provisions within some collective agreements that now provide super during unpaid parental leave, but this needs to be rolled out sector-wide.
“We are also fighting to remove the $450 minimum monthly earning before super is payable which adversely impacts lower-income earners which is often our school support staff.
"As workers, we also need to keep the government accountable to their commitment to raise the Superannuation Guarantee, through which compulsory employer contributions are set to increase in five percent increments from the 2021/22 financial year until it reaches 12% in the 2025/26 period," Mr Burke said.