AUSTRALIA - A full-scale review of Australia's existing retirement incomes system needs to be launched by the new Labor government to deal with a confused and fragmented policy landscape, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
It said market forces, combined with policy neglect by the previous government, had led to the situation, which needed a debate truly informed by public policy objectives.
In addition, AIST urged the government to introduce immediate amendments to correct anomolies in the current system, to immediately address the "severe disadvantage of women in superannuation" and to ensure implementation of housing affordability announcements met policy objectives.
It said the A$450 threshold for Superannuation Guarantee contributions should be abolished immediately and employers should be required to offer salary sacrifice contributions to all workers.
The government was also urged to clamp down on employers who were contracting workers as self-employed persons, in order to avoid paying the Superannuation Guarantee.
Other recommendations included a consultation on the amalgamation of lost accounts, and a tightening up of Transition to Retirement rules to stop people using them to create tax breaks as they neared retirement.
The 2008-09 Commonwealth Budget will be released in May 2008.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.