As part of the amendments, Labor also committed to ending the freeze on superannuation increases and to making superannuation an industrial right in the National Employment Standards (NES).
In response to the appalling conduct by retail funds that has been exposed by the Hayne Royal Commission, Labor committed to not accepting any such conflicts of interest or underperformance in the provision of default superannuation.
“The Royal Commission has exposed greed on steroids and a cabal of foxes who have fed off the retirement savings of the people that we represent. Superannuation was not dreamt up to provide dividends to shareholders and it certainly wasn’t dreamt up to make banks and their CEOs richer. The Hayne Royal Commission exposed this inherent problem, now we are acting to ensure people are able to retire in dignity without having their superannuation syphoned off because of greed and governance deficiencies. No worker should be forced into a fund which does not have their interests as its sole focus,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“Industry super funds only have a duty to benefit members. Their boards are made up of worker representatives and employers, who have a stake in ensuring the fund performs well. This is the model which has been proven to work best and return the highest yields to members,” said CFMMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor.
Labor also committed to ending the superannuation freeze and increasing the Superannuation Guarantee to 12% as soon as practicable. Once 12% has been achieved, Labor will then set out a pathway to its original objective of 15%.
“The Superannuation Guarantee has been disgracefully sidelined by this Federal Government. The Guarantee is woefully out of step with many workplaces where workers and unions have been able to negotiate much higher rates of superannuation. We need to make retirement fair for everyone and raise the Guarantee urgently,” said Kaine.
“People are struggling during their retirement despite years of working hard. Low wage growth and a low Superannuation Guarantee are destroying workers’ hopes of a dignified retirement. A report* last year showed employees stand to lose up to $100 billion in retirement savings because of wage theft, wage freezes, reduced penalty rates and cancelled enterprise agreements. This makes it all the more vital that we raise the Superannuation Guarantee to safeguard workers’ futures,” Kaine continued.
By ensuring that the right to superannuation is put into the NES, Labor has ensured that superannuation is an industrial entitlement. This means that superannuation theft can now be pursued by workers and their unions.
“By enshrining superannuation in the NES, Labor in government will ensure that superannuation will be forever treated as it was always envisaged – as a baseline critical collective industrial right,” said Kaine.
* The Consequences of Wage Suppression for Australia’s Superannuation System, Centre for Future Work