The Federal Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, has hit out at the Morrison Government for failing to bring legislation that would allow the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to shut down underperforming superannuation funds to a parliamentary vote.
Well and truly in election campaign mode, Bowen used a speech to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia today to cement Labor’s position as an advocate for low and middle-income earners in retirement.
The speech also served to put superannuation funds on notice that, following themes pursued by both the Productivity Commission and the Banking Royal Commission last year, a Labor Federal Government would focus any superannuation legislation firmly on member outcomes.
"Right now, there is a bill in the Parliament which would require super funds to report on their performance compared to similar products," Bowen said, blaming the Government “preferring politics over policy” for the fact it hadn’t come to a vote.
"Labor amended this bill in the Senate to make the outcomes test tougher, make director penalties higher and make APRA's powers stronger … If a fund is consistently underperforming it will receive no sympathy and will be dealt with by a Shorten Labor government, regardless of which part of the superannuation system it comes from."
Bowen also said that superannuation wasn’t working as well as it should be for low-income workers, but believed the solution lay in improving the superannuation system rather than looking for a new one. He took the same stance on default insurance, saying that he was looking for a better way to deal with its problems.
The potential treasurer-in-waiting accused the Government of spending “too much of its energy on its ideological war on industry super funds” rather than addressing these issues. He said that until laws giving APRA greater powers to shut down low performers passed, Australians would continue to be “ripped off”.