Women in Super launches policy platform

A $1,000 superannuation payment for low-income workers until their balances reach $100,000 and a carer’s credit for people performing unpaid caring work are at the centrepiece of Women in Super’s new policy platform.

Women in Super’s new policy platform proposed measures to address tax inequality in the super system, pay super on parental leave, and ensure those who perform unpaid caring work were not left behind.

Women in Super policy chair, Robbie Campo, said: “After 30 years of compulsory super, the system is delivering incredible outcomes for millions of Australians, but we still have a two-speed system with many women left behind.

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“The drivers of gender inequality for retired women are systemic, stubborn and multifaceted. That means that the policy response must also be systemic and include a number of reform areas.

“Australia’s superannuation system is built on the inherent gendered inequality that compulsory super is paid on wages. As women earn on average less than men, and are more likely to take time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities, the system doesn’t work for them in the same way.

“Poverty is growing among retired single women who are rapidly becoming the face of homelessness in this country. The structural gender inequalities in super will continue to contribute to this crisis unless we do something.”

Women in Super proposed measures to address the fact that super tax concessions, a primary way that government supports retirement savings, were skewed 2:1 to men (higher income earners), which meant they were economically inefficient, unfair and unsustainable.

“Women are also punished because they care for children and other family members. Measures like paying super on paid parental leave and introducing a carer’s credit will go some way to improving retirement outcomes for women.

“We must also build gender analysis into policy design so that future changes to superannuation do not impact women disproportionately – like the early release of super scheme.”

Women in Super’s revised policies were:

  • Support women to save for retirement by ensuring they receive a fair share of government support for their retirement savings, given the gender imbalance in distribution of super tax concessions
  • Closely related, align the Low Income Super Tax Offset with PAYG thresholds
  • Explore and implement a Carers Credit framework in Australia’s retirement income system
  • Holistic modelling to assess the benefit of a more systemic policy response which focus on improving women’s retirement outcomes
  • Pay the Superannuation Guarantee on Paid Parental Leave
  • Introduce an absolute benchmark of retirement adequacy that doesn’t shaft women

In the last months of the previous Government, some of the policy changes advocated by Women in Super were delivered, such as the abolition of the $450/month minimum income threshold for superannuation payments, and laws to ensure visibility of super in family law settlements.

“These changes were welcomed but alone they won’t fix the unfairness in the system. Broader reforms are needed to ensure that super policy settings do not continue to harm women as they age.”

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