Superannuation changes - Federal Budget 2018/19
Other changes to superannuation were announced in the Federal Budget on 8 May 2018, but remain unlegislated. These include:
Changes to insurance within superannuation have been proposed, including that insurance should be opt-in, rather than default for members under 25 years of age. A number of Industry SuperFunds have already taken steps to change insurance coverage for younger members.
It has also been proposed that insurance will not be automatically provided to super fund members until their super account balance reaches $6,000.
These changes are likely to be reintroduced into the Parliament in 2019.
It will be important to ensure no workers are left without insurance, such as new entrants to the workforce, women on extended maternity leave or workers in high risk jobs.
Retirement income products
The Federal Government has proposed a new retirement income framework, which would require super funds to offer whole of life products and to provide standardised information. If these changes are introduced, the Age Pension means test rules may also be changed.
Self-managed super funds
The Federal Government has proposed raising the maximum number of trustees allowed in a self-managed super fund from four to six and allowing funds with "a history of good record-keeping and compliance" to obtain an audit once every three years, instead of annually.
No change to legislated super guarantee increase
The Budget did not make any changes to the legislated increase in the super guarantee. It is still slated to begin with an increase from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent on 1 July 2021.
The Federal Government had previously proposed the following changes which have also not yet been legislated:
On 14 September 2017, the Federal Government introduced a bill seeking to close a legal loophole that allows employers to short-change employees who make extra salary sacrifice super contributions.
Closing this loophole would be a welcome step in tackling widespread super guarantee non-compliance, but a more comprehensive approach is necessary given the salary sacrifice changes would only help one in ten of those affected by unpaid superannuation.
Super fund governance
On 14 September 2017, the Federal Government introduced a bill to make changes to the requirements of super fund board members. This includes mandating one-third independent directors on boards and an independent chair. Funds would also be required to explain why they do not have a majority of independent directors on their boards.
Industry SuperFunds’ equal representative model of employer and member representatives on boards has been a proven success, delivering strong returns to members. The proposed legislative changes seek to dismantle this successful model. Industry Super Australia opposes this change.
Choice of fund
On 14 September 2017, the Federal Government introduced a bill that would extend choice of fund arrangements to those who currently choose their super fund through collective bargaining in enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs).
Imputation credit changes
The Federal Opposition has announced a proposal to cease refunding unused imputation credits. This has resulted in widespread media commentary on the impact on retirees. See our explainer on the issue and how fine-tuning the policy could reduce or remove the impact on pensioners with small and moderate parcels of shares.