TWO superannuation bills which passed the Senate overnight, with extensive amendments, will help curtail super balances being eroded by unnecessary fees and signal the beginning of the end for underperforming, fee gouging super funds according to Industry Super Australia.

Industry Super Australia deputy chief executive, Matt Linden said after a tortuous eventual vote, one of the most important changes was the automatic consolidation of inactive accounts under $6000 from July 1 this year.

“Although the technology to automatically consolidate accounts has been available for many years without requiring members to do the legwork legislators have dragged the chain," Mr Linden said. “Coupled with fee caps for accounts under $6000 these measures will have to do the heavy lifting to prevent erosion of small account balances.

“It was disappointing explicit changes intended to protect young and low balance members from unnecessary insurance were completely dropped from the final bill."

While additional safeguards were definitely required removing the provisions completely was not necessary, he said.

“Regardless, Industry super funds will strive to ensure default insurance arrangements remain cost effective and matched to the insurance needs of members taking into account age and other factors such as occupational risk," Mr Linden said.

The other Bill passed by the Senate, Member Outcomes 1, benefited significantly from Labor and Green amendments supported by most of the cross bench which will place greater scrutiny on costly and poorly performing, non-default ‘Choice’ superannuation products, Mr Linden claimed.

As a result of the amendments the fees, costs, and returns of choice superannuation products will be scrutinised, and new reporting standards should now shine a light on billions in undisclosed investment fees and profits gouged from the system.

“Trustees who fail to operate in the best interest of fund members will now have little place to hide,” Mr Linden said.

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MINING companies Anglo American and QCoal have increased donations from resource companies to flood recovery efforts to more than $3 million.

Anglo American has donated $200,000 to GIVIT, while the QCoal Foundation has committed $100,000 to support local initiatives in Townsville and across North Queensland.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said resource companies were responding with financial support, in-kind donations and labour to help Queenslanders get back on their feet from floods.

“I would like to thank Anglo American and the QCoal Foundation for adding their support to the flood recovery efforts. Every dollar helps with a strong recovery for North Queensland,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Government announced yesterday that more than $4.4 million has been donated. I am proud the resources sector has contributed more than $3 million – or almost three quarters – of those donations.”

Including the donations from Anglo American and the QCoal Foundation, QRC members have donated $3.25 million to flood relief charities with Glencore and South32 donating $1,000,000 each, the BHP Foundation, MMG Dugald River and Aurizon contributing $250,000 each, and Adani Australia and Incitec Pivot contributing $100,000 each.

Mr Macfarlane said Glencore and South32 were assisting efforts to support the cattle industry devastated by floods in the state’s north west.

Glencore has supported hay drops by providing access to its Ernest Henry site for the RAAF to conduct their operations. It has also provided heavy equipment (loaders and forklifts) and people power to assist in the hay drops for stranded cattle and for the removal of dead cattle.

South32 Cannington has also provided heavy equipment for near neighbours in the disposal of dead cattle and has been on standby to help with refuelling at its airport if needed as part of the hay drops.

South 32 has been working with the Mayors of McKinlay and Cloncurry Shire Councils on how it can provide support to the region to deal with the flood crisis and recovery efforts.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk started the appeal with a $200,000 donation and her Government listed The Australian Red Cross, UnitingCare, Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland as the non-government partners and said people can also donate to GIVIT.

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the decision by the State Government to award a petroleum facility licence which will lead to a new gas processing plant in the Surat Basin.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the plant would be built by Jemena and process gas from Senex Energy’s Project Atlas west of Wandoan.

“This project is part of the Government’s domestic only gas supply initiative designed to help ease the east coast gas squeeze,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The processing plant will be part of Jemena’s $140 million Atlas gas pipeline which will connect gas from Project Atlas to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub in south west Queensland and create 150 jobs.

“It’s another flagship example of industry and Government working together to produce more natural gas, with benefits for Queensland," he said.

“Queensland’s resources industry has a proven track record of attracting new investment and creating new jobs because of the clear and stable regulatory environment in which it operates. It is essential that we have stable and reliable regulation for our resources sector to continue to attract the investment that builds our State and delivers for every Queenslander.”

www.qrc.org.au

 

About QRC

QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland ‘s resource sector. The Queensland resources sector provides one in every five dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 15,400 businesses and community organisations across the State, all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass.

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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.

www.publicaccountants.org.au

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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/. 

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Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122