Superannuation Motion 2013

Superannuation is a Labor Party policy through and through. The Labor Party is the party that introduced universal superannuation and it is the party that will protect superannuation. It was a Labor government that introduced the compulsory superannuation guarantee and it is a Labor government that is now reforming super to ensure the retirement savings of Australian workers are better protected. Labor's commitment has always been to make sure that all Australians have a fair, regulated superannuation industry. Labor has always been a champion of compulsory superannuation because it provides a significant source of savings that is untouched and will continue to grow until needed.

Australians want a superannuation industry that they can have faith in as they work hard to save for retirement. It is in our national interest to encourage more Australians to save more for their retirement and to understand how their superannuation works. That is particularly important: Australians need to understand how superannuation works.

This motion highlights the importance of Labor's increase to the superannuation guarantee from nine per cent to 12 per cent, an increase that will benefit 8.4 million Australians. Overall, Labor's historic super reforms will lift retirement savings by $85 billion over 10 years—$500 billion by 2035. These are major reforms. These are Labor reforms that reflect Labor values.

This motion also brings to light data from the ABS that shows the imbalance between men and women when it comes to super, which is something I am particularly concerned about. As the member for Greenway pointed out, although the mean superannuation balance for women almost doubled in the period 2002 to 2007, there remains considerable gender disparity. When it comes to super, one of my biggest concerns is what is happening when women come face-to-face with their superannuation needs, because there is a gender gap when it comes to their superannuation. Data from 2009-10 shows that Australian women do not always have enough super to allow them to be comfortable in their retirement. Statistically, women earn 17 per cent less than men and the average super account balance for women is just over $40,000, while for men it is about $71,000. The average payout for women aged 60 to 64 is around $112,000, while for men it is closer to $200,000. Another critical difference is that men hold an estimated 63 per cent of super accounts, while women hold only 37 per cent.

I have seen figures showing that a single woman aged 65 who is wanting to retire will need over $500,000 to create an annual income of just over $40,000. As women live longer than men, they actually need more super, but the statistical evidence is clear: there is a discrepancy between what men can access compared to what women can access.

I have seen this all too often in my own electorate. I have seen the reality of what this means for women and super. I gave a speech last week on International Women's Day, in which I focused on housing for older women. When I told the stories about what I had experienced in my electorate a number of women came up saying: 'They are the same things I'm experiencing: I'm staring down the barrel of retirement in five or 10 years time, I don't have enough super, I'm in the private rental market and I'm working just to make ends meet.' It is very tough for these women. I know that they are very concerned about their super. I know this from my own experience, from my mum, who retired with about $5,000 in super and is now on the pension. Fortunately, she has her own home. It is tough for women, particularly when they just do not have enough super for a comfortable retirement. That is why I am so adamant that women, particularly young women, get across their superannuation needs, not just what they need for their retirement but also how they are going to plan to make sure that they can reach those goals for their retirement, so they can plan for the gaps in their career when they take time out to have babies and so they can plan for when, possibly, they want to do part-time work in their 50s while ensuring that they can cover their superannuation needs to ensure a comfortable retirement.

I commend the member for Greenway for putting forward this motion. It is good to bring to everyone's attention the superannuation achievements of the Labor government but also the superannuation needs of women for the future to ensure that they have a comfortable retirement, to ensure their quality of life when they retire and to ensure they are not fearful as they age.

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