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Australian workers will benefit from greater transparency of superannuation funds: unions

Australian Council of Trade Unions MEDIA RELEASE

A Productivity Commission inquiry into default superannuation funds in modern awards will shed welcome light onto the relative performance of industry and retail funds, say unions.

ACTU Assistant Secretary Tim Lyons said there should be transparency about the performance and operation of superannuation funds in awards so that workers can be sure which fund delivers the best savings for them.

Mr Lyons said unions had long supported not-for-profit industry funds against retail funds because they had consistently provided better returns and greater value for workers.

“We have always advocated for full transparency of the system so that workers can make an educated decision about where they invest their retirement savings,” he said.

“This inquiry will again clearly reveal just where workers’ savings go, how much of their superannuation funds are eaten away in fees and which funds deliver the best returns.

“We are pleased that this inquiry will seek to develop suggested ongoing criteria for superannuation funds wishing to seek default status in modern awards to be assessed on an ongoing basis, to ensure they continue to meet the best interests of their members.”

Mr Lyons said the inquiry would lead to a more transparent and open system, which all funds should welcome.

“Unions in partnership with the Labor Government established universal superannuation for Australian workers two decades ago,” Mr Lyons said.

“The industry super fund model was set up with one clear objective: to deliver the best financial outcomes for their members, by returning a greater amount into their savings, rather than into the profits of the fund.

“Industry super funds have consistently provided better savings returns for workers, with lower fees and higher earnings than the retail funds.

“The only funds with anything to fear from this inquiry will be those retails funds that overcharge their members through exorbitant fees.

“Greater transparency means those funds will no longer be able to get away with their high costs and that can only be a better outcome for working Australians who trust superannuation funds with their hard-earned savings for retirement.”

Mr Lyons said the inquiry, along with the Government’s commitment to increase the Superannuation Guarantee to 12%, would go a long way towards ensuring more Australians had adequate savings for retirement.

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Media contact:
Rebecca Tucker (03) 9664 7359 or 0408 031 269;
rtucker@actu.org.au