Gillard won't rule out super raid on wealthy


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.