Gillard won't rule out super raid on wealthy

Updated
9

AAP

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has left open the possibility the federal government will raid wealthy people's superannuation tax concessions in the May budget.

There are suggestions tax concessions for the rich might be reduced to finance costly promises such as the Gonski school funding changes and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Ms Gillard did not hose down the speculation, saying the federal government was focused on ensuring the superannuation system worked well and was sustainable in the long term.

"I can assure people superannuation is a Labor creature. We will always nurture it well and any decisions we make will be about the long-term interests of the superannuation system," she told ABC Radio in Perth.

"When we think about superannuation, we think what is in the interests of working people, what is in the interest of their decent retirement incomes, and what is in the interest of making the system sustainable."

She dismissed comments by opposition leader Tony Abbott about possible changes to superannuation as "fear campaigning".

"Mr Abbott actually has a policy that is verified on more than one occasion to cut superannuation for low-income Australians - that is, he would take away the low-income superannuation contribution scheme so he would be making low-income people up to $500 worse off," she said.

Ms Gillard was also quizzed on changes to the Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFA), which employers in higher-cost states such as Western Australia say have made it harder to bring in workers from interstate.

She said the clampdown on LAFA tax breaks gave the federal government funds that it could funnel into higher priorities such as schools and hospitals.

"It was absolutely the right thing to do," Ms Gillard said.

The concessions would not be returned.

"No, we won't be bringing those breaks back," she said in response to a talkback caller.

Survey shows super a key issue

Two-thirds of people believe that superannuation will be a key issue in the lead-up to the September 14 federal election, a new survey has found.

More than half (57 per cent) of the 1000 Australians surveyed by Galaxy Research on behalf of superannuation fund Sunsuper, said they are concerned that rumoured super changes in the May budget will negatively impact them in retirement.

Sunsuper's Teifi Whatley said the survey highlights concerns about the constant tinkering to the superannuation system.

"These results send a message to all political parties that Australians are taking notice of the rumoured changes to superannuation, and this is eroding their confidence in the system as a way to save for their retirement," Ms Whatley said in a statement.

Baby boomers (76 per cent) are the most concerned about rumoured budget changes, such as cutting back on super tax concessions.

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Anonymous,

Re: super raid. As this should apply to Parliamentarians as determined wealthy. Currently parliamentarians must make a contribution to pension yet the benefit is defined. The rules may be amended to approximate 15% or 30% tax on contributions depending on earnings in a year. It seams their system shelters them from taxation on earnings within their pension and there is no investment risk as the benefits are defined and a healthy return is assumed on their contributions. A means test may be applied when they are receiving their pensions that if in each year they receive the pension if they are determined wealthy then tax may be applied to the pensions portion of their income.

It would be best and more straight forward if they are on the same super system as the rest of us.

Anonymous,

Here we go again. More class welfare. The "wealthy" (not defined) pay more tax, and when they put more income into their superannuation, they reduce their tax to 15% on the superannuation portion of that income. So ?? . the government says "not fair" because lots of people pay no tax at all. Well, I say "not fair". Money earned belongs to those who earn it and if people choose to put more than the 9% surcharge (or salary sacrifice) into super for retirement purposes, so be it. We should have the same tax for all, especially when we are talking about retirement income or superannuation. If you roll it over into a pension fund then no extra tax is applicable and it saves the government heaps. However, I understand that if, you pull it out to squander (overseas trips, new car, etc.) the rules say the tax advantage disappears. You have to pay back what you got.
The system has been devised so people in retirement can look after themselves, and the government’s old age pensions can be kept in check. Alter the superannuation rules once again by penalising the “wealthy”, and all of us go backwards. If this government cannot see that, then we need to vote them out.

Anonymous,

Why don't the media ask Gillard if she'll reduce the pension she and her mates are going to get? She talks about the "rich" well her pension (and that of her front bench mates) is valued at about $5million. A damn sight more than the $800k she's talking about phasing in cuts at. Why shouldn't all parliamentary pensions (or defined benefits) be capped at $1m? Why is the media giving her such an easy ride on this issue? Any fair minded person would say it's fair enough that she herself should make a contribution when she's asking every other Australian to.

Anonymous,

Prepare for a blizzard of mis-information and half truths from those disguising self interest with trhe cloak of moral rectitude.

Anonymous,

This "beg and bluster" attitude by the wealthy to suck up more super Government retirement welfare is truly shameful. It is also not sustainable for the country. Heavens, the Government modelling shows higher income retirees get a standardized $520,000 to $270,000 advantage in Government retirement welfare benefits -(i.e super handouts plus pension handouts together) over lower income reitrees. Have some dignity, please. (PS- I also agree polticians' super should be set at the community standard).

Anonymous,

So headline which should have read 'Gov't won't rule out super tax concession reduction in May budget' becomes 'Gillard.. Super Raid on wealthy'. Typical Murdoch tabloid trash: using the Cyprus situation to spread fear here. Strangely no one has put their name to this propaganda.

Anonymous,

(Sorry, Martin Luther King) ... " I HAVE A DREAM". That Wilkie, Oakeshott, Windsor and Thomson (go on Craig .... just for the hell of it) do the right thing and vote this budget down. Leave Super alone. If you need cash, slowly strangle negative gearing, which is an anti-social tax aberration.

Gillards a gone-er, but she'll scorch the earth in retreat, to strike a posthumous blow for those of her ancestors who worked down the mines for stale bread or were sent up chimneys. She's a funny old leftie. And she says that Super is a precious ALP creation, but what she's proposing must have Keating turning in his political grave. Speak up, Paul! Your'e not actually dead. She's killing your baby. 'Simon says', but that's not enough. We need Keating himself to thunder - for the benefit of Australia. What does he owe Gillard? He didn't leave her ALP, it left him. He can't tacitly support this rubbish.

Anonymous,

There is an alternative view that the value of homes should figure in the aged pension means test calculations.A couple living in a 1.5 million house but with say $600,000 of pension assessable assets get significantage pension and related benefits.Alternatively a couple living in a $300,000 house in a country town who have $1,100,000 of pension assessable assets get no pension related assistance yet overall they have $600,000 less assets.The ultimate result is that the first couple leave a much larger estate to their children.Obviously many couples choose to purchase a new home with a view to what they can capture in age pension benefits.Until the value of the family home is brought into the assets test equation this chronic unfairness will persist.If pensioners with valuable homes need the cash flow of an aged pension require them to give a charge against their home so that on eventual sale the surplus pension is recouped.

Anonymous,

I, too, HAD a dream that by hard work, 16 years of self-funded university study and hard saving I might not be a drain on my childrens' economy. Apparently, these are exactly the characteristics Gillard and co. deem unworthy. We are so lacking in dignity that we must have our superannuation raided to pay for their own horrendous improvidence. We have no where to hide and no way of protecting or rebuilding our savings when they are raided. This is not Cyprus. This is Australia, 2013. We are the envy of the whole world, right? We now have to raid old people's savings so our politicians can buy votes.