Last week we saw media interest once again turning to the superannuation sector. This followed comments made by the Reserve Bank of Australia that were interpreted as suggesting that SMSFs were contributing to a property price bubble. The Assistant Treasurer, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, was moved to publicly reassure the sector that the Government is not looking at any sudden changes to the laws affecting SMSFs.
In this context it is worth recalling the recent survey of Tax Institute members' key policy priorities. The number one member priority was an equitable and sustainable superannuation system for the long-term.
Superannuation is our nest egg. It's the stashed away cash that we all trust will be safe and secure for years to come and will be there when we need it to fund our retirement. It is the ultimate long-term investment. However, it is an investment made on the basis of a core compact between every Australian and Government: we agree to forgo part of our income now to save for our retirement, whilst in return the Government agrees to respect the sacrifice and the long-term nature of our investment.
It is clear that if the superannuation tax system is to be changed, members want a long term, sustainable plan for reform, not mere tinkering around the edges. When Governments tinker with the system this risks harming people's confidence in it and in putting their hard-earned money aside to save for their retirement.
The Coalition Government made an election pledge: “not to make any unexpected detrimental changes to superannuation”; we will be holding them to this commitment.
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.
The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.