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Bias In Industry Super Debate

Release date: 12/01/2017

AFR Letters, 11 January 2017
 
The Chanticleer column "Industry super funds safe from good governance" (January 10) fails to address the elephant in the room when it comes to proposed changes to industry super funds.

These funds have achieved exactly what they were set up to do: a dignified life for working families in retirement. In this they are far more successful than the for-profit bank super funds. Various studies show the higher returns yielded by industry super funds: one McKell Institute report found employees with for-profit banking super funds would have to work seven years longer to achieve the returns of employees on industry super funds.
 
The fact that industry super funds work so well is conveniently ignored by those advocating for changes to the boards of industry super funds. Also sidestepped is the huge incentive for the current board make-up – consisting of employers and employees – to ensure the fund performs well. Throw into the mix the lower fees industry super funds attract and the elephant is suddenly even bigger.
 
There has been a lack of honesty in this debate from the start: there is no other reason to change the make-up of industry super fund boards other than to wrest control from employees and their representatives. That ideology would play a role in an issue which will affect the quality of life in retirement of millions of Australians is a sad indictment of our political system.
 
Tony Sheldon, National Secretary
 
Transport Workers Union
 
Sydney, NSW
 

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