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Election reflects cost of super tampering

Political parties that continued to pursue super policy changes would do so at their own electoral peril, as demonstrated by the clear message from the recent election result, according to an industry executive.

“Although it was the coalition government that felt a backlash from voters in the wake of the budget measures around superannuation that caused so much public angst, the reality is both the major parties were culpable as Labor included these savings in its fiscal estimates,” Xpress Super and SuperGuardian chief executive Olivia Long said.

“What the electorate has rightly discerned is that superannuation is increasingly being seen by all the political parties as a cash cow that can be milked for fiscal reasons.

“However, what we have seen in the election is that many of the people have said enough is enough and that there will be an electoral cost if you continue to change the policy settings by which people plan their retirement income strategies.”

Long said the reasons for introducing a compulsory superannuation system in Australia in the first place needed to be remembered.

“In the SMSF space particularly, trustees assume the responsibility to be financially independent in retirement, and all they ask of their elected representatives is to determine the policy settings and then leave the system alone,” she noted.

She also emphasised it was currently a difficult time for trustees because of the volatile investment markets around the globe and interest rates being at historical lows.

“To compound these market-related issues, they have to continually second-guess what the government of the day will do with superannuation policy, especially as it relates to its tax treatment,” she said.

“But after [the election result], it seems doing so might come at a high political cost.”

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