Passage of super legislation will deliver better retirement for 8 million Australians

Monday 19th March 2012

The passage of the superannuation and minerals resource rent tax Bills will deliver working Australians tens of thousands of dollars more in their retirement savings, and ensure the spoils of the mining boom are morefairly spread, say unions.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said Australian workers could finally have certainty after a long debate about the issue. She said more than 8 million working Australians would be better off in retirement as a result of the changes with some workers getting up to $143,000 more.

“Unions have campaigned long and hard to lift the super guarantee because 9% superannuation is not enough to provide an adequate income in retirement,”Ms Kearney said. “It helps the nation care for an ageing population without placing excessive strain on taxpayers, and provides a savings pool for investment in Australian companies and major infrastructure.

“Fewer and fewer Australians will have enough superannuation to fund their retirement, so this makes the new legislation all the more important.”

Ms Kearney said the average 25-year-old worker could gain an extra $143,000 in their retirement savings from a move to increase the Superannuation Guarantee from 9% to 12%. This is particularly important for low to middle income earners, especially women whose careers were interrupted while they were raising children.

Also among the legislation passed by Parliament are new rules allowing people earning up to
$37,000 to contribute $500 to their superannuation without paying tax.

Ms Kearney said the Minerals Resource Rent Tax was an important national economic reform to spread the benefits of the mining boom to all Australians. The MRRT will provide funding for the superannuation changes, along with regional infrastructure and lower company taxes.

“Big mining companies have been making mega profits out of Australia’s natural resources and must pay their fair share of tax and put something back into the community,” Ms Kearney said.

“It is simply unsustainable for the two-speed economy that has occurred in Australia as a resut of the mining boom can continue unheeded. It is time the balance was corrected and the mining tax will help deliver a fairer and stronger economy from which more working Australians can benefit.”

Ms Kearney said the strong demand for our resource exports had sent resource prices soaring
and delivered windfall profit gains to the big mining companies.

"There is both need and capacity to raise more tax revenue from this boom, and to use it to build a stronger, more sustainable economy and a fairer Australian society,” she said.

“Australians want a fairer tax system and they want to be able to share in the nation’s wealth sonions are pleased the Parliament has listened.”