Workers that earn less than $75,000 will benefit the most from a rise in the superannuation guarantee (SG), as higher income earners already benefit from higher contribution rates.
Speaking at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Emergency Superannuation Summit, Emma Dawson, Per Capita executive director, said the argument that super came out of wages or that it led to lower wage growth was particularly spurious because Australia was in a recession.
“It’s very hard to achieve wage growth in a recession… workers will either get the SG or they’ll get nothing and they’ve had nothing for six years in terms of real wage growth in their take-home pay,” Dawson said.
“If we look at who is actually affected by the SG rise now – and this is an argument that even some on the Left will make – is that ‘well it’s inequitable, the costs of it are too high and if we increase it the benefit mainly goes to high income earners’, but that’s untrue.”
Dawson pointed to the fact that higher income earners were already on a 12% or even 15% rate and if they weren’t, they were able to salary sacrifice to take advantage of tax benefits that come with that.
“Overwhelmingly, those who will benefit from a rise in compulsory rate of super are those earning under $75,000 a year and they’re more likely to be women (53%) than men,” Dawson said.
“Two-thirds of trainees, community services workers, admin workers and clerical workers rely on the SG rate.
“Three-quarters of people working in sales, machinery operators, drivers and labourers rely on that SG rate too.
“We’re being told by people in Parliament who are on 15.6% that we can’t afford a rise for the lowest paid and those that do such essential work in our society.”