Early super releases pass the $10b mark

Original article by Joanna Mather, Tom McIlroy, Michael Roddan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 : 8-May-20

The federal government has advised that 1.2 million people have now applied to withdraw a total of $10.2bn from their superannuation fund via its early access scheme. Treasury had forecast that about $27bn in total will be withdrawn by people who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Australian Federal Police have executed five search warrants as part of an investigation into allegations that fraudsters are taking advantage of the scheme. Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has told a Senate inquiry that about $120,000 has been stolen from super funds by fraudsters.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

APRA to probe super payouts

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 1-May-20

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority generally expects superannuation funds to release money under the federal government’s early access scheme within five business days. APRA requires super funds to provide it with a range of data every week regarding the early access regime, and a spokesman says it is prepared to pursue enforceable action against funds that do not pay eligible members within an appropriate time-frame. APRA is collecting both industry-level and fund-level data, which will be publicly disclosed.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

Big super warns of cash-in risk

Original article by Joanna Mather, Tony Boyd, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 3-Apr-20

Treasury has forecast that about $27bn in total will be withdrawn from superannuation funds after the federal government relaxed the rules governing early access for people who have been impacted by the pandemic. AustralianSuper CEO Ian Silk notes that industry estimates suggest that withdrawals could top $50bn. He adds that some super funds may struggle to cope with a big increase in withdrawals, but stresses that it will not be an issue for AustralianSuper. Silk also warns that a surge in withdrawals will affect the super industry’s capacity to invest in and recapitalise businesses when the crisis abates.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD

Reserve Bank could lend money to super funds to help cover coronavirus withdrawals

Original article by Ben Butler
The Guardian – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

The federal government has predicted that as much as $27 billion could be withdrawn from super funds under rules allowing people who lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19 to withdraw up to $20,000, but some funds suggest that it could be as much as $60 billion. The Reserve Bank is understood to be working out how it might set up a government-backed facility to assist funds to pay withdrawals, although Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has thus far rejected the idea. The government’s decision to introduce a wage subsidy to keep people in work could mean the level of withdrawals may not be as great as previously forecast.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Unions lean on ALP over super choice bill

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 7-Feb-20

The union movement is urging Labor to vote against proposed legislation that would ban enterprise agreements from stating that workers must join a union-backed superannuation fund. Labor senator Tony Sheldon recently warned the party’s caucus against voting for the bill, while ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connolly says the proposed legislation would have a major impact on industry funds such as UniSuper.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, UNISUPER LIMITED

Forget tax and spend, go for productivity: Albanese

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 22-Nov-19

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will emphasise the need to prioritise increased productivity in a speech on 22 November. He will identify microeconomic reform, fiscal management, infrastructure, and investment in people through skills and training as the key policy initiatives to lift productivity. He will also argue that the legislated increase in the superannuation guarantee must proceed, as it will encourage super funds to invest in productivity-boosting infrastructure.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Business splits on 12pc super

Original article by Joanna Mather
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 23-Oct-19

The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s chief economist Ross Lambie says any further increase in the superannuation guarantee should be dependent on an increase in productivity. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox supports the long-term goal of lifting the super guarantee to 12 per cent; however, he is open to further delaying the rise, citing factors such as the cost to businesses and the need for real wages to increase. AustralianSuper CEO Ian Silk argues that the increase in the super guarantee has been legislated, and it has already been delayed twice.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING UNIONS’ SUPERANNUATION FUND, AUSTRALIAN HOTELS ASSOCIATION, HOST-PLUS, AUSTRALIAN MINES AND METALS ASSOCIATION (INCORPORATED), GRATTAN INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, MASTER ELECTRICIANS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Costello defies PM, urges super debate

Original article by Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 4 : 8-Aug-19

The legislated increase in the superannuation guarantee continues to attract scrutiny, with former treasurer Peter Costello calling for the issue to be "thoroughly debated" in the Coalition’s partyroom. He says increasing the guarantee from 9.5 per cent at present to 12 per cent by mid-2025 will have "very significant ramifications", although he has stopped short of declaring his own position on the issue. A number of Coalition backbenchers oppose increasing the super guarantee.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, GRATTAN INSTITUTE

Super is about unions rather than our retirement

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 12 : 23-Jul-19

Australia’s superannuation system is now valued at $2.8 trillion, but parliament has yet to agree on what it is for. The current federal government tried a few years ago to enact a bill that would define the purpose of superannuation, but it was never passed. The main aim of superannuation should be to help people to provide for themselves in retirement, but cynics would suggest that the ‘real’ beneficiaries include fund managers, superannuation and financial planning associations, the union movement and the Labor party. It is little wonder that all these groups want the superannuation guarantee to be increased to 12 per cent, as has been legislated, although some government MPs are now against this idea.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Lib MPs in bid to ditch super boost

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government is facing growing pressure from within its ranks to reconsider an increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent by mid-2025. Andrew Hastie is among seven backbenchers who oppose the increase; he says it would be preferable for people to use this income to pay off their mortgage now rather than have to wait until they retire. Senator Amanda Stoker in turn says wage increases should be a higher priority at present than changes to the superannuation guarantee.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY