10 October 2023
HESTA is calling for a clear goal to eliminate the gender superannuation gap and the need for transparency in measuring progress towards this goal.
In its submission on the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2023 and Superannuation (Objective) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2023, HESTA recommends building a more equitable and dignified retirement income system for all Australians, irrespective of their income levels.
As women comprise 80 per cent of HESTA’s more than one million members, the submission reflects the importance of providing financial security for low and middle-income earners, especially women, as they prepare for retirement.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey emphasised the importance of ensuring a dignified retirement for every Australian.
“We believe in the power of superannuation to transform lives and advocate for a system that truly works for all,” Ms Blakey said.
"We cannot move forward while leaving some behind. Our superannuation system must actively work to redress imbalances.
"Our aim is simple: A future where the gender superannuation gap is a thing of the past.”
HESTA has a long history of championing equity in the superannuation system and welcomes the inclusion of "dignity" and "equitable" as central concepts in the objective of superannuation.
The submission underscores a fundamental principle that superannuation policies should neither reinforce nor create new inequities. Instead, they should actively strive to rectify existing disparities.
In recognising the need for robust accountability measures, HESTA has proposed strengthening them to facilitate more effective policy assessments.
The submission recommends that compatibility statements incorporate comprehensive analyses, including rigorous modelling, to evaluate a policy's impact on superannuation savings and its potential adverse consequences.
"Transparency and thorough analysis are essential because Australians deserve to know how policies affect their retirement savings,” Ms Blakey said.
“We must not only aim for equity but also measure our progress.
“The ambition to target support in the superannuation system to those most in need can only be achieved if the distributional outcomes of superannuation policy are measured on different groups over time.
“A Gender Superannuation Impact Assessment can help us achieve this goal."
Summary of HESTA’s three key recommendations:
- Include in the explanation of the “equitable” key concept that superannuation system settings should not entrench or create inequitable outcomes.
- State an ambition to close the gender super gap, and
- Ensure sufficiently robust accountability mechanisms are in place to assess superannuation policy against the objective, both at the time superannuation policy change is proposed and over time through a periodic review.
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 currently manages approximately $76 billion* in assets invested around the world.
*Information is current as at the date of issue.