Trustee lobby group slams govt super definition

The SMSF Owners’ Alliance says requiring legislation to be justified in terms of the primary objective of super is good practice, but the proposed objective is too broad and allows any legislative changes to super to be justified.

SMSFOA explained that the exposure draft of the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016 has described the primary objective of superannuation as providing “income in retirement to substitute or supplement the age pension”.

The trustee lobby group argued the definition is inadequate and “lacks vision and ambition”.

“It is a missed opportunity to instead position superannuation as the central pillar by providing the means for more Australians to take responsibility for their own financial security in retirement rather than to rely on the taxpayer-funded age pension,” SMSFOA executive director Duncan Fairweather said.

Mr Fairweather said defining superannuation as merely to “substitute or supplement” the age pension sets no benchmark for the performance of superannuation.

“It is meaningless to set an objective for superannuation that does not include even a very general performance goal,” he said.

The trustee lobby group warned that the objective of super has been defined so broadly that virtually any legislation on superannuation can be justified.

“It does not inhibit any government from further grinding away the benefits of superannuation,” Mr Fairweather said.

“Section 6(3) of the draft bill should be amended to require that statements of compatibility must also require legislation to take into account the subsidiary objectives.”

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