by Alan Thornhill
Australia’s $1.1 trillion compulsory superannuation industry is impressive, but there are still big gaps in its coverage.
These are revealed in figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
These show that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of retired Australians strill rely on the age pension, or some other kind of welfare, as their main source of income, in retirement.
Yet the Age pension – and similar benefits – were designed to help people in their retirement years.
They were – and still are – not meant to provide a comfortable standard of living.
The architect of compulsory super, Paul Keating, originally meant contributions to rise gradually to 15 per cent of salary.
But they have did not go beyond 9 per cent, either in the 12 years of the Howard government, which was decidedly cool – if not openly hostile to compulsory super – or under the subsequent Rudd Labor government.
The current superanuation minister, Chris Bowen, talks enthusiastically of seeking more than mere adequacy in retirement incomes, through super.
But he becomes distinctly nervous when asked if the present government is contemplating lifting compulsory superannuation contributions, even to 12 per cent.
Characteristically, though, Mr Keating, himself, remains bold.
He told an interviewer recently that he would push those contributions right up to the 15 per cent level, if he were to return to power.
That’s not likely to happen.
And the upshot is that Australians, who are now living longer than ever, are still quite likely to find themselves strapped for cash, in their retirement years.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Saturday May 25
The Dow Jones Index rose 8.60 points to 15,303.10
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|Aud To Usd||0.9651||N/A||N/A|
|Bhp Blt Fpo||34.360||-0.520||-1.49%|
|Origin Ene Fpo||13.040||-0.310||-2.32%|
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