'Silly' issues being injected in super debate

The Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey had contributed to a "silly" debate by raising the prospect of allowing first home-buyers to access their super to help fund a deposit, according to Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chief executive, Tom Garcia. 

Opening the 25th Conference of Major Super Funds (CMSF) on the Gold Coast, Garcia warned that the debate around superannuation was being allowed to drift into dangerous areas which included not only the question of first home-buyers and super but the mandating of compulsory annuities and the value of superannuation tax concessions. 

He said it was in these circumstances that there was real merit in pursuing the recent recommendations of the Financial Systems Inquiry and establishing a long-term objective for superannuation underwritten by bi-partisan political support. 

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Garcia said that only by establishing a long-term objective for superannuation could appropriate policies be put in place along with long-term strategies and a set of key performance indicators to determine whether the long-term objective was being met. 

"Once we have agreement on the long-term objective we can have a proper debate," he said. 

Garcia said he believed issues such as the value of super tax concessions required an appropriate debate which was focused on both equity and long-term objectives. 

He said that also warranting debate was the retirement age and whether, rather than worrying about helping young first home-buyers, Australia's super pool was used to help increase housing stock or assist in keeping old people in the workforce.

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