Super should only be a solution for retirement: ACTU

Superannuation needs to stop being treated as a solution to every problem other than retirement and that gimmick policies that raid super will lead to worse retirement outcomes, according to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). 

Speaking at the ACTU Emergency Superannuation Summit, Michele O’Neil, ACTU president, said to some in the Government, superannuation was a solution to every problem except retirement. 

“A recession? Cut super. Left out in the cold by the Government during the pandemic? Gut your super,” O’Neil said. 

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“Others have advocated that workers should be forced to raid their super to just get into the housing market, an idea that will simply push up the price of housing. 

“We’ve seen policy proposals that some workers shouldn’t be entitled to superannuation, returning to the two-tiered retirement system we had in the ‘60s when many working people retired into poverty. 

“Rather than adequately support workers, the Morrison Government told those that were left out in the cold without support, like casual workers, university workers and visa workers, that they should choose today – during a pandemic – between poverty in retirement and food on the table.” 

O’Neil also criticised Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Jane Hume, for saying she was “ambivalent” to a superannuation guarantee (SG) increase. 

“She told the media ‘I’ll never use that word again, it was a mistake to use a word people don’t understand. Ambivalence means you’re conflicted and of course I’m conflicted, and rightly so’,” O’Neil said. 

“She apologised for saying she was ‘ambivalent’ then said workers were too stupid to understand what was meant, then used another word that meant exactly the same thing.” 

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