AUSTRALIA - Superannuation accounts and assets are still being lost despite the efforts of the Australian Tax Office (ATO), according to new figures.
And the total number of lost member superannuation accounts rose by 5.2%, from 6.1 million accounts on 30 June 2007 to 6.4 million accounts at 30 June 2008.
Minister for superannuation and corporate law Senator Nick Sherry warned this was a major structural inefficiency in the Australian retirement savings system.
He claimed the losses had now reached the level it had due to "twelve long years of the Liberal Party either doing nothing about it, or misunderstanding the problem".
Sherry said: "The Rudd Labor government came to office promising to fix the lost super problem.
"While the ATO does a commendable job trying to contact lost super fund members, using tax file numbers to re-unite people with their lost super would be a more efficient and cost effective way to solve the problem."
He explained fund members had to pay a large price for having multiple super accounts, which ultimately impacted their end retirement savings balance.
Sherry added: "Currently, if members do try to consolidate their accounts, many give up as they face the prospect of having to find their other accounts, and other red tape to complete the process.
"My preference is for the government to develop a new system that automatically consolidates people's lost accounts, but with an individual opt-out for those who actively choose not to take part."
The Superannuation Unclaimed Money and Lost Members Act, which was introduced in 1999, requires super funds to report to the ATO twice a year on the details of member accounts that meet the definition of lost member.
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