The Your Future, Your Super bill should be rejected as it could leave 2.7 million workers in dangerous occupations worse off if they are stapled to their first superannuation account, according to Cbus.
The industry super fund said the availability of insurance for workers in hazardous occupations was at risk of being undermined by the stapling proposal as a many young workers did not actively choose another fund if they changed jobs.
“The proposed stapling measure puts at risk young workers new to building and construction, who are at risk of no longer receiving automatic, affordable insurance cover through the Dangerous Occupation Exception,” it said.
Cbus said the exception that was introduced on 1 April, 2020 allowed workers under 25 years old in dangerous jobs to automatically keep their insurance entitlement.
Since the exception had been introduced to 31 March, 2021, 115,800 building and construction workers had obtained or retained their insurance and a total of $7,256,200 (58 claims) had been paid who would not have otherwise been eligible without the exception.
“Many funds’ policies – including those funds that workers are most likely to be stapled to under Your Future Your Super – contain exclusions or unfavourable terms and conditions because insurance cover has not been tailored for their hazardous industry,” the fund said.
“This means that despite paying insurance premiums, workers in higher risk heavy blue-collar occupations or people working above 15 metres are not actually covered. Members and their families typically only discover these exclusions when tragedy has struck, and they try, and fail, to make a claim against cover they believed they had.”
Cbus chief executive, Justin Arter, said the first year of the Dangerous Occupation Exception underscored the importance of the amendment and that the Your Future, Your Super bill should be rejected by the Senate Committee examining it.
“Why would there be recognition for the importance of insurance for workers in dangerous occupations then, but not after a year in operation? The flow through effects of the amendment illustrate how we must stay the course with providing industry specific insurance for workers in hazardous jobs,” he said.
“If a construction worker is ‘stapled’ to a fund they joined at their first job, they could be paying for insurance that won’t cover them if they’re seriously injured. Many Cbus insurance claims are from workers in their first year on the building site when they are new to the industry and at higher risk.
“The Your Future, Your Super Bill should be rejected by the Senate Committee examining it. The recent hearings exposed that the issues with it are too many, and far too serious to be resolved via tinkering. If passed, it could leave 2.7 million people – 20% of our working population – who work in in hazardous occupations worse off.”