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Super Ideas: Securing Australia’s Retirement Income System

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Vision Super and the John Curtin Research Centre are proud to announce the release of our joint policy report Super Ideas: Securing Australia’s Retirement Income System, authored by JCRC Executive Director Dr Nick Dyrenfurth. Federal Labor Member for Rankin and Shadow Finance Minister Dr Jim Chalmers will launch the report.

Superannuation is central to the Australian way of life. After a lifetime of hard work, all Australians deserve a comfortable retirement. During the early 1990s Australia began to build a system of compulsory superannuation contributions, which has become one of the pillars of our nation’s retirement income system. We have built one of the largest pools of savings in the world in just a quarter of a century. Our superannuation savings pool is Asia’s biggest and the largest per capita in the world. With current total assets worth $2.3 trillion, this savings pool is projected to double to $4 trillion over the next 10 years and hit $7.6 trillion by 2033. That’s a world-beating achievement. Yet our super system must be fit-for-purpose in the twenty-first-century.

In this joint Vision Super/John Curtin Research Centre report, Executive Director Dr Nick Dyrenfurth examines the public policy implications surrounding our super
barbeque stopper. We need to renew efforts to increase the Super Guarantee (SG) rate to where it should be, from 9.5 to 12 per cent. He also proposes a way forward that abolishes an arbitrary SG threshold designed for the early 1990s. If not, in its place, he suggests introducing a pro rata model of compulsory employer contributions which acknowledges Australians are working multiple jobs. Without this
reform the ‘super gap’ between older and young, disproportionately female workers will grow.

Younger Australians also need to be made better aware of how superannuation works and the importance of it to their financial well-being. This report argues for a dedicated education campaign driven by the commonwealth government and super funds aimed at improving the financial literacy of all Australians, whether in our schools, universities and workplaces, and a zero tolerance regulatory approach to
underpayment of compulsory superannuation.