A HIGH-POWERED GROUP of women and men are mobilising in a push to make sure that the pressing needs of women are not left out of the forthcoming retirement income review.
The group, coordinated by Women in Super, are pushing for the review’s terms of reference to be updated to specifically include women.
Women in Super Chair Cate Wood said it was vital the report take a thorough look at how policy settings combined with the structural, economic, social and demographic drivers are leaving increasing numbers of women without economic security in retirement.
“There is a crisis in women’s retirement happening all around us,” Ms Wood said. “Single retired women are the fastest growing group of people becoming homeless in this country.
“The rate of poverty for retired women also continues to increase, which is unsurprising given women retire on average with just over half the superannuation savings of men.”
Ms Wood said that while the terms of reference are broad, an explicit focus on women’s retirement outcomes was needed to ensure that the review did not miss an important opportunity to address the gender retirement gap.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the Review of the Retirement Income System in late September.
THE Financial Services Council (FSC) has welcomed the passage of legislation ending grandfathered conflicted remuneration payments to financial advisers.
FSC CEO Sally Loane said the FSC has been consistent in its support for ending grandfathered conflicted payments, which was detailed in the FSC’s submission to the Royal Commission last year.
“It is encouraging to see the government acting promptly on the Royal Commission implementation roadmap and delivering on Recommendation 2.4, which is expected to benefit Australian consumers,” Ms Loane said.
“From 1 January 2021, as part of these reforms, where a conflicted remuneration is payable in contracts, the benefit must be passed through to the client.
“This is consistent with the FSC position of enhancing confidence in a strong, sustainable financial services sector, that serves Australians with integrity.”
These reforms remove remuneration arrangements that are today considered conflicted and also deliver an appropriate transition period for businesses.
“The FSC will continue working with government and relevant stakeholders to help ensure the effective implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations, set out in the government’s roadmap, and that the arrangements reached are workable for business,” Ms Loane said.
About the Financial Services Council
The Financial Services Council (FSC) has more than 100 members representing Australia's retail and wholesale funds management businesses, superannuation funds, life insurers, financial advisory networks and licensed trustee companies. The industry is responsible for investing $3 trillion on behalf of more than 15.6 million Australians. The FSC promotes best practice for the financial services industry by setting mandatory Standards for its members and providing Guidance Notes to assist in operational efficiency. The FSC’s mission is to protect and enhance confidence in a strong, sustainable financial services sector that serves Australians with integrity.
Energy Networks Australia chief executive officer Andrew Dillon said that hydrogen was part of a sustainable energy solution and replacing natural gas with hydrogen would deliver a safe, reliable and zero-emissions fuel for customers.
“This report demonstrates that crucial innovation by networks is already underway to advance a hydrogen future,” Mr Dillon said.
“Networks are looking to renewable hydrogen made from solar and wind power to decarbonise our gas networks.”
APGA chief executive officer Steve Davies said developments in gaseous fuels signalled a promising future for gas as Australia’s energy system moved to a low carbon future.
“Natural gas already provides more energy than electricity, at lower emissions and less cost,” Mr Davies said.
“Gaseous fuels fit well with future energy needs as we decarbonise, providing diversity in energy supply which delivers great benefits for competition, reliability and security now and into the future.”
Trials are already underway, and some networks have made clear plans to blend hydrogen into existing gas infrastructure.
Energy Networks Australia has previously released research confirming that the injection of hydrogen into the gas distribution network can be done under current gas legislation.
There is a global focus on hydrogen as the way forward with 19 separate hydrogen roadmaps underway or completed around the world, including Australia.
THE Salvation Army has called calls on government and business to take immediate action on the reform agenda set by the Banking Royal Commission and the Senate Inquiry into Credit and Financial Services targeted at Australians at risk of financial hardship.
The Salvation Army is shining a light on a slew of predatory and unfair practices that persist almost 10 months after the Royal Commission and Senate Inquiry reports were handed down.
Head of The Salvation Army’s Moneycare, Tony Devlin, said the arrival of Anti-Poverty Week underlines the need for the recommendations to be pressed into action.
“It is still far too easy for the very people who can least afford it - those who are already struggling with debt - to get even further into financial trouble and debt when confronted with changed circumstances,” Mr Devlin said.
Salvation Army research paints a similarly gloomy picture, revealing that one quarter of participants in The Salvation Army’s Moneycare program experience extreme housing stress, with 16 percent experiencing energy stress. Participants spent at least 50 percent less on essential items such as food and health compared to average Australian households.
Law reform around predatory lending and increased funding for financial counselling services is particularly needed. The case for increased financial counselling services is strengthened by survey figures showing that more than 90 percent of participants in Moneycare’s financial counselling programs reported improved ability to handle their own financial situations and to resolve their financial difficulties.
“The vulnerable and desperate don’t need a pay day loan or a ‘buy now, pay later scheme,” Mr Devlin said. "What is needed is financial counselling such as that offered by Moneycare which is holistic in its approach, which focuses on working with the person as a whole and builds long-term financial capability and resilience.”
Anyone in need of assistance is encouraged to contact The Salvation Army’s free and confidential Moneycare financial counselling service. For more information, call 1800 007 007 (National Debt Hotline) or visit salvationarmy.org.au/moneycare.
The committee will hear from the Department of Home Affairs, to discuss current regional migration settings and policy.
“This will be an excellent opportunity for the Committee to examine what visas and policies are currently in place to encourage migrants to settle and stay in regional areas,” said Julian Leeser MP, committee chair.
“This hearing will provide the committee with the necessary information on current policy before we hit the road to talk with people in regional areas about what is working to help migrant settle and stay in their communities.”
The first of these regional visits is scheduled to take place in Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier on November 18, 19 and 20. Further details on the inquiry, including the terms of reference, are available on the inquiry website.