Super freeze hits nurses and midwives hard

Nurses and midwives will be among the Australian workers hardest hit by Tony Abbott’s attack on superannuation as a result of his deal to axe the mining tax, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said today.

ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the decision to freeze superannuation contributions at 9.5% for the next seven years was yet another broken election promise by the Abbott Government – robbing tens of billions of dollars from the retirement savings of average Australian workers.

Ms Butler said: “First it was health, then education and now it’s this disgraceful ambush on super delivered via a backroom deal with Clive Palmer for the blatant benefit of big mining companies. This Government’s attack on individual workers and everyday citizens knows no bounds.

“Low income earners, who are predominantly women, will be particularly hurt by this unjustified raid on their retirement nest eggs.”

Ms Butler said the ANMF was now extremely concerned that the freeze on super contributions will negatively impact on nurses and midwives for years to come.

“As is well documented, the major portion of the nursing and midwifery workforce is in their 40s and 50s and set to retire within the next decade,” she said.

“When combined with the proposed changes in pension indexation, this freeze in the Super Guarantee will result in a 25% reduction in total retirement incomes for someone aged 45 today on average earnings. On top of this, women are already under-superannuated, women’s working lives frequently include interruptions to paid employment, which diminish their capacity to accumulate sufficient retirement savings and women’s incomes are lower than men’s but they live longer than men and so have to rely on their own financial resources for longer periods of time.

“As the nursing and midwifery workforce is predominantly female this adds to up to a very grave retirement future for nurses and midwives. This freeze will mean their retirement won’t be adequately funded – they simply won’t have the savings to live on once they finish work. Mr Abbott should realise that a strong superannuation system with compulsory contributions of 12% would ensure that working Australians can afford a decent standard of living in their retirement, whilst easing the pressure on the pension system.

“But rather than doing that, Mr Abbott will be forcing our ageing generation of nurses and midwives to delay retirement. They will have to keep working longer and harder in physically demanding jobs – there won’t be any other option for them.”

The ANMF, with over 233,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.  

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