Superannuation policy is shaping up to be a key battleground between the major parties. The Opposition has vowed not to do anything that will affect the savings of older Australians. Whereas the Gillard government, needing new revenue sources to fund its education and disability reforms, is said to be eyeing tax breaks on superannuation withdrawals by the wealthy (those with super accounts over $1 million).
Currently super tax concessions are costing the government $32bn per year, skewed heavily towards the wealthier, and rising to $40bn in
2014/15. (Treasury's own analysis shows that someone in the wealthiest 1 per cent receives three times as much in tax concessions as the government pays out in the old-age pension.)
But any changes to the system will be met with fierce resistance. Expect many warnings in the coming months about raiding workers' savings, cash-grabs by the government to pay for their bloated promises, poor planning and investment uncertainty.
"If the govt wants to have a fight, we'll give them a fight", said John Brogden, representing Australia's retail super funds. The super industry, like the mining and gambling industries before it, will spare no expense.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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