1 September 2023
Super objective a path to ensuring equity and dignity in retirement
HESTA today welcomed the announcement by the Albanese Federal Government of the proposed legislation and wording for the legislated objective of superannuation.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said legislating the objective of super was an important step towards dealing with the structural inequities that prevent all Australians – and particularly HESTA members – from receiving the full benefits of what is one of the world’s best super systems.
“Legislating the objective of super will provide a shared understanding for members, funds, regulators, and government as to the purpose of the system and a clear measure against which to consider any future policy settings,” Ms Blakey said.
“The wording of the objective released by the Albanese Government includes the system’s central pillars – preservation and delivery of income – while highlighting the fundamental importance of dignity and equity in retirement.
“We know elements of our super system disadvantage low-income earners, women, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”
HESTA invests more than $74 billion on behalf of more than one million members who work primarily in the health and community services sectors. Many HESTA members are low-income earners, and almost 80 per cent are women.
Earlier in the year, HESTA outlined its strong support for enshrining the objective of super in legislation. HESTA recommended specific inclusions in the Bill’s explanatory materials to ensure important concepts stated in the objective are given appropriate weight and consideration in future policy settings.
These recommendations included defining the concept of a “dignified retirement.” The Fund recommended this be defined as promoting financial security and well-being in retirement to support the ability of individuals to participate in the community economically and socially. HESTA also called for an express commitment to an “equitable” system that closes the gender super gap.
In addition, HESTA recommended additional accountability measures to ensure that future policy proposals are consistent with the objective and implementation of a Gender Superannuation Impact Assessment to evaluate any future policy reform.
HESTA is pleased that the Government has accepted several of HESTA’s recommendations. This includes additional accountability through the requirement for a statement of compatibility and inclusion of further detail in the explanatory materials for the proposed legislation on the important concepts of dignity and equity.
Ms Blakey welcomed further consultation on the objective, noting that this was an important opportunity to establish foundational principles that would underpin the ongoing success of the superannuation system for future generations.
“We look forward to participating in the Government’s further consultation to ensure that women and those on lower wages can more equitably share in the benefits of super and that our system continues to deliver even better retirement outcomes in the years ahead,” Ms Blakey said.
HESTA is one of the largest superannuation funds dedicated to Australia’s health and community services sector. An industry fund that’s run only to benefit members, HESTA now has more than one million members (around 80% of whom are women) and manages more than $74 billion in assets invested around the world.