Key super bills in front of Parliament

Key super bills in front of Parliament

Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2018 was announced in this year’s Budget, and imposes caps on fees for low balances, bans certain exit fees, provides an exception to the death and TPD insurance opt-out requirements for members with low balances, inactive accounts or who are under 25, and changes to the operation of inactive accounts with an ATO-administered consolidation process. The Minister has announced that an amendment will be moved to ensure that certain dangerous occupations are still subject to opt-in insurance. However, AIST is concerned that the proposed mechanism for exempting members in high risk occupations from the proposed changes to group insurance poses practical challenges for members.

The Opposition have announced that it will be moving a separate amendment to the Protecting Your Super Bill to cover a wider exemption than the Government’s proposal which will only cover dangerous occupations. The Opposition also plan to move exemptions to the definition of inactive accounts, as well as to the consolidation process included in the Protecting Your Super Bill. AIST welcomes this announcement.

Proposed amendments have also been flagged by the Greens, whose amendment would see the insurance provisions from the bill removed entirely.

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Supporting Retirement Incomes) Bill 2018 was introduced to Parliament this week and contains the government’s Budget pension means testing proposals – including the changes to the pension work bonus, pension loan scheme and the new means testing rules for lifetime income streams – have only just been introduced to parliament. This bill must have Royal Assent by the end of June.

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 provides the ATO with direct powers in relation to unpaid SG as part of a range of SG integrity measures and extends Single Touch Payroll to small business. Importantly, the Bill enables members to be informed by the ATO that their employer may not have paid a super contribution on their behalf.  It is scheduled to commence 1 July 2019. AIST supports this Bill which will help address the systemic problem of unpaid and underpaid SG contributions that affects up to one third of workers.

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 implements a one-off 12-month amnesty to encourage employers to correct historical SG non-compliance. The government has announced an amendment which proposes to increase the penalty on employers who do not use this amnesty to a minimum 100% (up to 200% at ATO discretion) of Part 7 penalties. AIST welcomes the proposal to increase minimum penalties which will help deter employers who fail to pay SG on behalf of employees.

The bill also contains several measures aimed at upholding the tax integrity of non-arms-length assets and limited recourse borrowing arrangements, as well as implementing the government’s budget measure of allowing employees with multiple employers to take steps to prevent their employers breaching the concessional contributions cap. 

Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017 confers new powers on APRA to assess MySuper member outcomes; increases disclosure requirements for fund administrative expenses; and introduces new penalty provisions for SIS Act breaches. The Minister announced that an amendment will ensure that members in choice products are also protected by the outcome’s assessment requirements.

This Bill was paired with the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Strengthening Trustee Arrangements) Bill 2017 which proposes one third independent trustee directors, as well as for one of these directors to be the chair. The government does not have the numbers in the Senate to pass this Bill. It is expected this bill will be detached from the Member Outcomes #1 Bill and subsequently withdrawn.

Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 2) Bill 2017 closes unpaid super salary sacrifice loopholes, and extends choice of fund to all workers except public sector schemes. The removal of the loopholes is in the interests of all Australians who use salary sacrifice arrangements. AIST does not support the choice of fund measure in its current form and has proposed a ‘no disadvantage test’ be included.

We will continue to follow these developments as well as other bills which have not been scheduled for debate in some time. One of these is the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, which has not been debated in the Senate in two years.