Federal government in super denial

12 February, 2021

The federal government’s reticence to stand by legislated increases to super would upend the promised retirements of a generation.

Workers should receive an increase to their guaranteed super this year (from 9.5% to 10%) with further legislated increases to follow until the rate reaches 12% in 2025.

Members of the government (who receive 15.4% in taxpayer-funded super) have conflated a number of significant – but separate – issues as reasons to deny super increases, including poor wages growth and unaffordable housing.

IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said weaponising these issues to deny super increases is a plain attempt to chip away at workers’ hard-won conditions.

“For most Australians the issue of 12% super has been settled – 75% support it,” Mr Burke said.

“For the government to hide behind the myth of affordability – when we’re talking about an increase equivalent to two cups of coffee per week – simply masks an ideological attack on super.

“Similarly, to exploit the hardship many Australians face entering the housing market rather than take appropriate policy action is particularly shameless,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said workers had won enhanced super and it was time for the government to stand by its election promise.

“It’s time for the government to get out of denial on super,” Mr Burke said.

“It’s fundamentally unfair to rip $170,000 out of the retirement balance of the average worker.

“Workers deserve the security and dignity of a prosperous retirement.”

The threat to cancel super increases has followed a range of recent attacks on the system.

“Government policy choices have already seen young people forced to trade their super for financial security during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 600,000 young workers draining their balance to zero,” Mr Burke said.

“This measure, in addition to other early access schemes, undermines the key benefit and design of super – accruing a balance over time.”

Mr Burke said the government’s current attitude towards super would result in fractures in the system and greater pension reliance in the future.

“Undermining a super system widely renowned as a world leader would be one of the most damaging social and economic policy decisions seen in decades.”

Voice your support for 12% super via the Australian Unions petition.

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