The election result has sent a clear message to all political parties – keep changing superannuation policy at your electoral peril, says Olivia Long, CEO of SMSF administrators Xpress Super and SuperGuardian.
“Although it was the Coalition Government that felt a backlash from voters in the wake of the Budget measures around superannuation that caused so much public angst, the reality is both the major parties were culpable as Labor included these savings in its fiscal estimates.
“What the electorate has rightly discerned is that superannuation is increasingly being seen by all the political parties as a cash cow that can be milked for fiscal reasons.
“However, what we have seen in the election is that many of the people have said ‘enough is enough’, and that there will be an electoral cost if you continue to change the policy settings by which people plan their retirement income strategies.”
Long says it has to be remembered why compulsory superannuation was introduced in the first place – to give people the opportunity to be self-sufficient after leaving the workforce.
“In the SMSF space, in particular, trustees assume the responsibility to be financially independent in retirement, and all they ask of their elected representatives is to determine the policy settings and then leave the system alone.
“Right now it is a difficult time for trustees with volatile investment markets around the globe the order of the day and interest rates at historical lows.
“To compound these market-related issues they have to continually second guess what the government of the day will do with superannuation policy, especially as it relates to its tax treatment. But after last Saturday, it seems doing so might come at a high political cost.”