Bill Kelty: Fix wages, not super

Bill Kelty, one of the founders of Australia’s superannuation system under the Keating government, says it wasn’t the superannuation system or superannuation guarantee (SG) that needed to be fixed, but wages for workers.

Speaking at the ‘Superannuation: Rebooting the system that is failing many Australians’ panel at the Crescent Think Tank launch, Kelty said all the discussion around changes to super prevented generational confidence in the system.

“The most important thing to say to working people and the people of Australia is stop all the changes in super, stop all this nonsense, stop threatening it all the time,” Kelty said.

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“Leave it alone so the [new] generation can get confidence in the system again.

“It’s not to say there aren’t issues, but people making generational decisions are sick and tired of governments coming in, changing and reviewing it.”

He acknowledged there were still issues for people who were out of the labour force for periods of time, particularly women, as well as for young people who drifted between casual jobs.

“Women are treated unfairly, fix up that issue, but leave the system as it is. Leave the commitments as they were,” Kelty said.

Kelty said the government should follow through on increasing the super guarantee (SG) to 12% as it was originally agreed and to stop deferring changes.

“Not one word was said in the last election about moving the SG to 12%, but now the election is over and suddenly people are having an enquiry.

“We wonder why people lost trust in politics, they got told by no one this was on the agenda.

“Just meet your commitments, do what you told people you would do and implement the 12% and keep your promise.

“Leave super, fix up wages, don’t continue to steal money and steal super off decent working people, because that’s all that argument is.”

Former Liberal opposition leader, John Hewson, said assistant minister for superannuation, financial services and financial technology, Senator Jane Hume’s, proposal for a 10% SG would be inadequate.

“I think it’s ridiculous to imagine you can set a policy by saying this is a nice round number, because I don’t think that makes any sense at all,” Hewson said.

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