HESTA welcomed the announcement that the Government would scrap the $450 super threshold but said there were disappointingly few budget measures targeted at improving women’s financial security in retirement.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said that the super system continued to have a ‘gender blind spot’ that saw women retire with considerably less super than their male counterparts.
“HESTA has been calling for the scrapping of the unfair $450 super threshold for more than 10 years so it’s pleasing the Government has taken this long overdue step as it will help improve financial security for women and the lower paid,” Ms Blakey said.
“However, the fact that super continues not to be paid on parental leave remains a glaring gap in our super system.”
“For too long Australian women have paid the ‘motherhood penalty’ for the time they take out of the workforce to care for children. More needs to be done to improve their retirement outcomes. Paying super on paid parental leave is an easy and obvious fix.”
Ms Blakey acknowledged that the end of the $450 threshold would mean that many casual and part-time workers no longer miss out on the benefits of super entirely.
“It’s a key equity measure that super is paid on every dollar earned. However, we still have a long way to go to reform our super system to make it fairer for women,” Ms Blakey said.
“Our super system continues to favour those on higher incomes with unbroken work patterns, who are typically men. There are few other budget measures that specifically address the long-standing gender inequities in our super system.
Ms Blakey said HESTA members would welcome the Government confirming in the Budget that they would stick to the current schedule of legislated increases in the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) that would see it rise to 12% in 2025.
Significant additional spending on social services was also pleasing to see as it would benefit the health and community sector (HACS) where HESTA members predominately worked, Ms Blakey said.
The Government announced significant funding for Aged Care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), childcare and pre-school education, mental health and to combat family violence.
“It’s encouraging to see the Government increase its focus on closing gaps in our social infrastructure and early education,” Ms Blakey said.
“There is still much more to be done to create higher-quality, more secure and sustainable jobs across health and community services. However, these budget announcements are positive for the sector and our members who deliver these essential services.
“We continue to push for a gender lens to be applied to our economic recovery as there is ample global evidence that addressing gender equality and strengthening social and health infrastructure are particularly effective at creating long-term, sustainable economic growth.”