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Appointments, Superannuation

New super minister adds sector experience to role

The superannuation sector will deal with the fifth government minister to oversee the area since late 2013, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing Victorian Senator Jane Hume as Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Finance within his new ministry line-up.

Hume will be part of the assistant ministry, while Victorian MP Michael Sukkar will join the outer ministry as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing.

Liberal Party deputy leader Josh Frydenberg will remain as Treasurer and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will also retain his role, with both Frydenberg and Cormann being part of Morrison’s 23-member cabinet.

Sukkar has previously held roles in government as assistant minister to the treasurer, from early 2017 to mid-2018 under Malcom Turnbull, but this is the first ministerial position for Hume, who entered the Senate at the 2016 federal election.

Hume, however, has worked in financial services, holding roles as an investment research manager and then private banker with NAB in the late 1990s, as a senior manager with Rothschild Australia in the early 2000s and then as a vice-president at Deutsche Bank. Her most recent role before entering parliament was as senior strategic policy adviser with AustralianSuper from 2015 to 2016.

The appointments have been welcomed by the SMSF Association and Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney said the appointments and the return of Frydenberg and Cormann in their roles created “a strong economic team at a time when superannuation will be an important issue during the life of this parliament”.

“Appointing a minister with direct responsibility for superannuation and financial services with the broad policy agenda of implementing recommendations from the financial services royal commission and considering recommendations made by the Productivity Commission on superannuation earlier this year is recognition of the importance the government is assigning to this policy area,” Maroney said.

“It’s also important in light of the Treasurer’s stated intention to undertake a review of the retirement income system that will be crucial for policy affecting SMSFs and superannuation more widely in the future.”

ASFA stated it looked forward to working with Sukkar and Hume, and congratulated Frydenberg and Cormann on their return, adding: “The team is well-versed and in a strong position to deliver effective policy with robust economic outcomes for superannuation and financial services.

“This is especially important at a time when the government is moving to implement significant reform to superannuation, including the bipartisan commitment to increase superannuation to 12 per cent, the Protecting Your Super package, the recommendations of the royal commission and other pre-election commitments.”

Since the coalition returned to government in September 2013, the area of superannuation and financial services has been overseen by four other appointees, with Arthur Sinodinos having responsibility for the sectors as part of his role as assistant treasurer until December 2014. For part of that period, Cormann was acting assistant treasurer after Sinodinos stood aside from his role to give evidence at the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Sinodinos was succeeded by Frydenberg, who held the same title from December 2014 to September 2015, at which time Kelly O’Dwyer was given responsibility as assistant treasurer until July 2016, at which time she was named minister for revenue and financial services, which she held until August 2018.

At that time, Stuart Robert was named as assistant treasurer with oversight of the superannuation and financial services sectors, but he has been named as Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services.

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