THE Coalition’s Protecting Your Super package has been stalled for far too long in the Senate and should be supported to help secure Australians’ retirement funding, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).
“Fee-gouging, particularly by the large superannuation entities, has to be dramatically wound back if we are to encourage a culture of superannuation contributions and savings as part of retirement planning,” IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway said.
“The Bills that form this package were announced in last year’s Federal Budget in May and yet it has not progressed. The package starts to address some of the flaws in our superannuation system.
“It is staggering to think that the youngest superannuation members and others with the smallest balances will be hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in fees just over the next six months.
“Exorbitant fees erode faith in the superannuation system and discourages young people from voluntarily contributing more into future retirement funding.
“If the Protecting Your Super package goes ahead, fees charged to small superannuation accounts (less than $6,000) will be capped at 3 percent per year which is a far cry from what is being paid currently.
“The package also stops default charging of life insurance with an opt-in option for people under 25 while the current default process erodes super balances with unnecessary insurance," Mr Conway said.
“Australia must encourage people to build their superannuation retirement funds to alleviate the pressures that will exist on government paid pensions in the future.
“Too many Australians have multiple superannuation accounts. It is therefore, encouraging to see the work by the ATO to educate the public over lost and unclaimed superannuation with promising results of $860 million found and consolidated just in the last quarter of 2018. The worry is that there is $17.5 billion reportedly, still in the lost and unclaimed category,” said Mr Conway.
THE Coalition Government has today released the Naval Shipbuilding Strategic Workforce Discussion Paper.
While the Government has already taken many actions to build the workforce, it is important to hear if there is more that we can and should do to support workforce growth.
Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne MP, said the Government is therefore seeking submissions on the Discussion Paper, including any pertinent data, to help guide further actions and initiatives to support the development of the naval shipbuilding workforce.
“The Government’s investment in establishing the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs across Australia,” Mr Pyne said.
“In order to meet the future demands of the Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, we must ensure we have the right people, at the right time, with the right skills.
“By providing a submission on the Naval Shipbuilding Strategic Workforce Discussion Paper, businesses and other interested parties will help inform the continuous workforce planning being undertaken in support of the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.”
Submissions are open until March 29, 2019. The Naval Shipbuilding Strategic Workforce Discussion Paper is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/NavalShipBuilding/.
THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hold public hearings in Carlisle and Guildford, Western Australia, and Norwood, South Australia, for its inquiry into the implications of removing refundable franking credits.
The chair of the committee, Tim Wilson MP, said, "The committee continues to gather evidence about how the removal of refundable franking credits would affect investors, particularly senior Australians whose financial security could be compromised."
The SMSF Association, who will appear in Adelaide, have called the ALP’s franking credits policy ‘flawed’ because it "proposes that refunds from dividend imputation are appropriate for almost all investors except for SMSF investors and those shareholders with low taxable incomes".
Also appearing in Adelaide, National Seniors Australia said in its submission that many self-funded retirees "feel they are being penalised for doing the right thing by saving for their retirement and not being a burden on the taxpayer by relying on the age pension".
Mr Wilson said, "These hearings will provide an opportunity for Australians impacted by a change to refundable franking credits to address the committee directly with a three minute statement, and we welcome their contributions and participation."
Public hearing details:
Carlisle, 9.30am to 11am, Community statements, Monday, 25 February 2019, Harold Hawthorne Community Centre, 2 Memorial Ave, Carlisle, Western Australia.
Guildford, 1:30pm to 3pm, Community statements, Monday, 25 February 2019, Guildford Town Hall, 97-99 James St, Guildford, Western Australia
Adelaide, 9.30am to 12pm, Tuesday, 26 February 2019, Osmond Terrace Function Centre, 97 The Parade, Norwood, South Australia: 9.30am to 10am, SMSF Association; 10am to 10.30am, National Seniors Australia; 10.30am to 12pm, community statements.
Further public hearings will be announced as the inquiry progresses. The hearings will be webcast live (audio only).
THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) today condemned the use of dirty tricks by the opposition parties in the Senate to prevent regulations that protect casual employees from taking effect.
The Fair Work Amendment (Casual Loading Offset) Regulations 2018 (Regulations) were made by the Government in December to address uncertainties created by a case in the Federal Court during 2018 regarding casual employee entitlements. However, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is using tactics in the Senate to play games with casual employment, threatening their job security and costing retailers millions in false entitlement claims, according to the ARA.
The ARA said while casual employees were already compensated with a casual loading in their ordinary wages for the absence of annual leave and sick pay entitlements, the Federal Court’s Decision in the Workpac v Skene Case last August potentially gave casual employees the opportunity to pursue back-pay claims for annual leave and sick pay entitlements. The Regulations made by the Government in December 2018 were intended to address the issue by clarifying these entitlements.
Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said that if the ALP was successful in coercing the independents on the Senate’s crossbench to overturn the Regulations on April 2, retailers could be liable for millions of dollars in back-pay to casuals who were never entitled to annual leave or sick pay.
“These Regulations are crucial to providing certainty to retailers and their casual employees, and without them, the confusion around entitlements will only get worse and small and family-run retailers will be crippled by the financial cost. The ALP will destroy casual employment by making it completely insecure, with businesses being forced to cut shifts or shut their doors entirely,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Retailers really care about their casual employees and want to provide them with the best opportunities that they can. However, constantly shifting the goalposts and adding millions of dollars to the industry’s wage bill means many retailers may have to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to casual employees who rely on their jobs.”
As the retail industry employs over 10 percent of the Australian working population and many small to medium enterprises employ this populous, this manoeuvre brought forward by the ALP will have a direct impact on the retail industry. To protect the future of retail employees and the industry, the ARA will continue to advocate on behalf of its members on key policy and advocacy issues, Mr Zimmerman said.
About the Australian Retailers Association:
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,700 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.