AUSTRALIA - The Labor party has backed the government's budget superannuation plan which will introduce a host of pension changes, including the elimination of the tax on benefits paid to members for Australians aged 60.
The government had long criticised Labor for "dithering" on whether to lend its support to the initiative - which was finalised on 5 September - but Labor in turn accused the government of witholding vital information.
"Labor has consulted on the package with a wide range of groups... which was made difficult by the government's arrogant refusal to provide the detailed costings in blatant contravention of its own charter of budget honesty," the party said in a release.
"Given the costs have blown out by A$1bn before implementation, they should have been provided."
Peter Dutton, minister for revenue, said the government welcomed Labor’s support for the plan, but added: "This is another demonstration as to how the Howard government is better able to maintain Australia’s prosperity into the future, than the inexperienced and indecisive Labor Party.”
Other key changes to be introduced include the abolition of reasonable benefit limits (RBLs), introducing instead new streamlined rules for contributions and giving individuals greater flexibility as to how and when they wish to draw on their superannuation in retirement.
The pension assets test taper rate will also be reduced from $3.00 to $1.50 per fortnight with effect from 20 September 2007, and the self employed will be allowed to roll over up to $1m from the sale of a small business into their super over their lifetime.
Standard Life has increased exposure to risk assets in three out of five funds in its Active Plus and Passive Plus workplace pension ranges.
Some 48% of employers are unaware of the services or help they offer to members of their defined contribution (DC) schemes, according to Aon.
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