Passage Of Superannuation Reform Package Welcome – But Dropping Of Over 65’S Measure Disappointing

Leading seniors’ organisation COTA Australia today welcomed the passage of the superannuation reform package through Parliament, but urged the government to urgently reinstate the reforms measures to lift restrictions on people over 65 years making voluntary contributions for a period after they have stopped working.

COTA Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates said COTA had long championed the need to reign in the overly generous tax concessions given to the wealthiest retirees at the expense of those on lower incomes, and to assist people on modest incomes.

“We strongly welcomed the superannuation package as it was originally announced in the May 2016 federal Budget,” Mr Yates said.

“Overall it will make superannuation fairer and more sustainable, and fit for purpose for the long term. The changes could have gone further in terms of fairness but this is a very important and positive step in the right direction.

“The Turnbull Government is to be congratulated on proposing this package and getting it through Parliament in a timely manner; and we welcome the bi-partisan support finally given to the package after some delay.

“It is however disappointing that the vested interests of a few wealthy retirees and the politics of the time has resulted in the watering down of some of those original provisions.

“In particular, COTA is greatly concerned that the fair and sensible Budget measure to lift restrictions on 65 to 74-year-olds making voluntary contributions to superannuation without having to be qualified under the work test has been lost along the way.

“This measure would have enabled people who have not fully provisioned for their retirement to still do after they have ceased working.

“It also would have encouraged people to consider utilising some of the equity invested in their primary place of residence for their retirement living; enabling a better standard of living and independence.

“While we welcome the passage of the overall package today and congratulate the Government on it, we urge the Government to urgently develop an alternative proposal for addressing this key issue for millions of older Australians.”

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Peter Stahel 0408 584 439

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.