A COMBINATION of the super guarantee supplemented with a means tested age pension incurs a significantly lower Federal Budget cost than providing a similar retirement income via a more generous publicly funded age pension, new independent analysis by Rice Warner Actuaries shows.

The Rice Warner report found the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) would save the Budget $17 billion this year, rising to $100 billion, in current dollars, by 2058.

The new report, commissioned by Industry Super Australia, assessed various policy scenarios using a comprehensive group based fiscal model that considers all relevant variables including the impact of the super guarantee on the age pension, personal wealth, income and company taxes.

The analysis, which is the first of its kind, considers the full fiscal impact of effectively abandoning the SG and all associated tax benefits and reverting to a more generous, but means tested, publicly funded pension that would deliver broadly equivalent retirement benefits.

In the scenario the maximum rate of age pension is increased by 50 percent to deliver the same outcome as the current age pension and the SG for a median wage earner.

In effect it replicates the path other countries have taken when they do not have compulsory privately funded retirement schemes.

The report also found the scheduled rise in the super rate - which has increased only once in 18 years and is due for its first affordable incremental rise of 0.5 percent next year – will improve the Budget bottom line through lower age pension payments in the future and increased revenues on the extra assets accrued through compound returns.

Freezing the super rate at the current level of 9.5 percent – about 6 percent less than the 15.4 percent super the federal politicians calling for the rate to be scrapped take home - will not result in an improved fiscal position over time.

Repealing the legislated rise would mean that both current and future taxpayers would be forced to pay more personal income tax, and age pension costs will rise in the coming years and decades.  

With the increase factored in, Australia is one of very few OECD countries with declining age pension expenditure as a portion of GDP. 

Industry Super Australia deputy chief executive Matt Linden said, “The detailed findings lay bare claims that super costs the Budget more than it saves and strengthens the case for proceeding with the legislated rise promised by the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

“It also shows compulsory super combined with a supplementary means tested pension is the most efficient pathway for governments to meet community expectations about retirement incomes," he said.

“Superannuation saves Australia from the budgetary, economic and social unrest evident in parts of Europe who have long struggled to grapple with unsustainable publicly funded pensions.” 

The report can be found here: https://www.industrysuper.com/media/super-savings-to-the-budget-rice-warner-report-reveals




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A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s defence, trade and international relations will conclude its program of public hearings with two days of hearings on September 15 AND 16.

The first day will focus on international affairs, defence and maritime issues, while the second will focus on international development aid.   

Senator David Fawcett, Chair of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, said the pandemic haD put great pressure on individual nations and international relationships as countries have struggled to contain the virus.

"The pandemic has highlighted some serious challenges in Australia's defence and diplomatic environment and has put real pressure (both health and economic) on many countries in the Asia Pacific region," Senator Fawcett said.

"These hearings will help the Committee understand what we need to do better as a nation to work with others in our region to get through these difficult times, to protect our national interest, and to maximise the positive impact of our international influence.”

Programs for each day’s hearings are available at this link.

Full terms of reference for the inquiry are on the Committee website.

Public hearing details

Date: Tuesday 15 September
Time: 9.30am – 3.30pm AEST 
Location: By teleconference

Date: Wednesday 16 September
Time: 9.30am – 3.30pm AEST
Location: By teleconference

The hearings will be audio streamed live at aph.gov.au/live.



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THE Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) has welcomed the recent announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormick that a major spending boost is being planned for the October budget to launch new construction projects.

With "significant" new spending on top of the existing $100 billion infrastructure list, the availability of skilled project management resources will be crucial to successful project outcomes of this scale, according to AIPM. This resource is essential if these projects are to adhere to industry standards and use of best practices, the institute said.

The announcement coincides with the upcoming release of a study by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU), and supported by AIPM, which analysed the efficiency of a group of projects in different industries. The study found that construction projects in the group had the lowest average efficiency, whereas the mining industry had the most efficient projects.

“With a focus on infrastructure and construction projects to help steer Australia’s economy out of the COVID-19 period, government needs to consider the availability and competency of a skilled project management workforce to deliver projects efficiently to ensure that the original investment is maximised," AIPM CEO said Elizabeth Foley said.

“There are numerous examples in the building and construction industry where a lack of skilled labour, poor cash flow, smaller profit margins, high insurance cost, and the lack of a business case have resulted in failures in safety and risk and the high rate of failure of projects. In line with our recent advocacy at state government level, for projects of this scale, certified project managers are needed who can demonstrate that they have the practical experience their resumes claim, and evidence that their experience is up-to-date, and their knowledge is growing with changes in industry and technology,” Ms Foley said.

ECU joint chief investigaor Richard Hughe said, “Project management forms part of a standard competency required across multiple industries. The job-relevant knowledge of planning methodologies and procedures, delivery, controlling and handing-over of projects can only be obtained through the legitimate study of project management fundamentals through accredited tertiary qualifications.

“If you’re a project manager, no matter which industry you’re working in, it’s important to ensure effective communication, collaboration and coordination with your team and stakeholders, as this was often associated with more efficient projects” Mr Hughes said.

According to Ms Foley, universities and vocational educators also need to ensure that project management courses are available in Australia now to accommodate the urgent need for a skilled workforce. It is essential that these courses have been assessed by project management specialists and meet the requirements of the project management industry.

Ms Foley said, “It is imperative that the higher education courses related to project management that are available today have high-quality content and delivery, to ensure there is the skillset to deliver on the projects that will carry Australia out of the COVID-19 crisis and consequent recession.”

AIPM and ECU’s joint research will be available for release by downloadable eBook on the AIPM website on September 21, 2020.


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COVID-19 has revealed deep social fault lines within countries -- with the poor, those dealing with casual employment, high levels of debt, poorer access to health and social services, and social marginalisation also most devastated by the impact of the pandemic.

In the US, African Americans are dying at a greater rate than white people while in many rich countries like Australia, governments have provided income support for people who have lost or are at risk of losing their jobs, but in low and middle income countries, such support isn’t available.

Professor Fran Baum, director of the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University, said recovery from the pandemic provides an opportunity to address the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources with transformative goals which require a social vaccine.

"A social vaccine is a metaphor designed to shift the dominant biomedical orientation of the health sector towards the underlying distal factors that cause disease and suffering," Prof. Baum said. "Such a vaccine would be applied to populations rather than individuals. It will also have to be applied in multiple sectors that affect health, including education, employment, welfare and housing.

“It comprises government and other institutional policies that aim to keep people well and mitigate the structural drivers of inequities in daily living conditions, which make people and communities vulnerable to disease and trauma.”

In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, Prof. Baum explained the target of the social vaccine would be the conditions that underpin four basic requirements for global health and equity to flourish:

  • a life with security;
  • opportunities that are fair;
  • a planet that is habitable and supports biodiversity; and
  • governance that is just.

Prof. Baum said biological vaccines require an efficient supply chain to ensure their delivery and effectiveness so in a similar way, the delivery of public policies at the heart of a social vaccine require considerable civil society advocacy to ensure their development and effective implementation.

“With or without a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end at some point, but the inequities highlighted by it will remain unless a social vaccine is developed and applied," Prof. Baum said.

“A global social vaccine will enable a new way of living that is healthy, just, convivial and sustainable, and will inoculate future society against a return to a world growing increasingly less healthy, sustainable and equal.”



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THE Australian non-alcoholic drinks industry has launched an ambitious post-coronavirus recovery agenda to complement the Australian Government’s pro-growth and pro-jobs policies, identifying nine key areas for positive change, to help business and the wider economy get back on their feet quickly.

Underpinned by a commitment to support widespread economic rebuilding and recovery, the report compiled by KPMG Australia details a number of proposals that have broad appeal beyond the drinks industry, including harmonisation of Container Deposit Schemes [CDS], incentivising key groups to meet sustainability goals, increasing recycling infrastructure, reforming the tax system, simplifying the industrial relations system and improving energy policy.

"As the drinks manufacturing and supply industry continues to adapt to the challenges caused by the coronavirus, the industry will continue to be focussed on more efficient use of resources through more sustainable practices and by minimising its environmental footprint," Australian Beverages Council chief executive officer, Geoff Parker said.

"This will be achieved in partnership with governments through targeted action. As a priority, governments must ramp up the harmonisation of CDS and fast-track the development of reprocessing and remanufacturing infrastructure to handle post-consumer beverage containers and other waste here in Australia to close the domestic loop," Mr Parker said.

The KPMG policy report identifies the potential in extending CDS to all sectors that use and generate recyclable waste that would lead not only to higher job creation, but contribute to a more efficient and well-functioning national recycling industry in Australia.

"Where possible, steps should be taken to increase the efficiency of existing and planned infrastructure, including CDS that is found in, or planned, for every State and Territory," Mr Parker said.

"The drinks industry supports the Australian Government’s focus on creating incentives and infrastructure at every step of the waste supply chain," Mr Parker said.

The KPMG report also highlights high and volatile energy costs borne by businesses across the country, which negatively affects the manufacturing sector, reduces the competitiveness of Australian industry and makes sectors particularly vulnerable during times of crisis.

"There is broad recognition by the industry of the government’s efforts to transition towards renewable energy, but there is also a need for increased incentives to adopt sustainable energy and co-generation schemes that focus on reliability and efficiency of energy supply as highlighted in the KPMG report," Mr Parker said.

The Australian Government is supporting the non-alcoholic drinks industry’s initiative in proposing key reforms and commitment to minimise its environmental footprint even further while investing in infrastructure that provides economic, environmental and social benefits to communities across the nation.

"This report is very welcome and timely, and more industries should be thinking about the many opportunities that exist to capitalise on the Morrison Government’s strong commitment to supporting the circular economy," Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans said.

"The partnership between industry and the Morrison Government is a clear sign that collaborative solutions are available to support economic recovery while meeting sustainability objectives."

The Australian Beverages Council said it would continue to consult widely with a range of industry and government stakeholders to increase understanding of the proposed reforms.

"The non-alcoholic drinks industry welcomes other sectors to join the Australian Beverages Council in supporting long-term reform and commitment to the economic recovery of Australia following the pandemic," Mr Parker said..

The full policy report can be found here.


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