Assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, has outlined the Government’s intentions to strengthen the superannuation system, outlining an objective is needed followed by discussions about taxation concessions.
Speaking at the AFR Super & Wealth Summit in Sydney, Jones said it was important that super had a defined objective similar to other initiatives such as Medicare.
“We can’t get everything settled for the long term unless we have an understanding of what we are trying to do. Super is a fundamental foundational piece of public policy but I could ask 20 people in this room what they think the objective is and receive 10 different answers.
“We will put the objective cart after the horse and ensure we have a proper conversation about the objective before we talk about taxation arrangements.
“We want to incentivize people to save and ensure that is preserved until they are 65. But that needs to be solidified with a defined objective.”
Once an objective had been decided, this would be followed by discussions about high-balance self-managed super fund (SMSF) balances. He said the Government was not discouraging Australians from saving but whether super was the right structure for those savings.
“You would struggle to convince the Government that a balance with $100 million is all retirement savings, you would struggle with that.
“We need to tidy up super arrangements and distortions in the system that don’t look right and is costing the Budget.
“We aren’t saying you shouldn’t put money away or not leave money for your kids, we are asking what is the role of super in doing that? If you want to leave a huge estate, great, but the question has to be asked how much is the role of super and how much should super be supporting that?”
However, he said the Government had yet to define a specific amount which it felt was too high for balances.