01.Consumers need voice in complex superannuation environment
CHOICE's reaction to announcement by assistant treasurer Bill Shorten
CHOICE is welcoming many of the federal government’s reforms to the superannuation system, especially the consideration of an independent body to advocate for consumers.
Benefits of the Stronger Super body proposal were detailed by assistant treasurer Bill Shorten when he announced the package on Wednesday 21 September 2011.
“I believe this concept warrants further consideration and will consult with industry and consumer groups on how such a body might be implemented,” he said in the foreword to the package.
The CHOICE position so far
CHOICE made three submissions to the Cooper Review on super and many of our recommendations have been adopted.
For some time we have highlighted the’ missing link’ in super; the fact that there is no consumer organisation to represent the interests of superannuation members.
Such groups operate effectively in consumer credit, energy and communications, with a mix of community and government support.
There have been requests to fund the establishment of a Superannuation Consumer Representative Organisation for over fifteen years. The Cooper Review considered this issue briefly but made no specific recommendations.
CHOICE says the widespread reforms to the key super sector would benefit from a dedicated, independent consumer voice in superannuation. It would be free from the industry conflicts of interest that may arise for other associations and interest groups that currently operate in the sector.
What the future may look like
It’s proposed the organisation could replicate the successful advocacy and assistance model that is used by other organisations such as the Consumer Action Law Centre, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network and many other independent consumer organisations.
Under this model, the organisation could provide a direct advice and assistance service to consumers, and use the information and lessons from this service to inform policy advocacy.
Read more on CHOICE's position and the government's Stronger Super reforms
Read the Consumer Proposal that was one of CHOICE's submissions to the Cooper Review into superannuation. You can also find more detailed information about the Australian government's superannuation reforms in the Stronger Super information pack.