Need to know
- The Budget included an announcement of ongoing funding for a body to advocate for super fund members
- The Budget also introduced 'payday super', which will mean Australians must be paid super alongside their wages from 1 July 2026
- As expected, changes to how super accounts with a balance over $3 million will be taxed were confirmed
1. Continued funding for a superannuation consumer advocate
The Federal Budget included an allocation of $5 million over five years from 2023/24 to continue funding a superannuation consumer advocate.
Super Consumers Australia intends to apply to receive this funding. Since its inception in 2018, CHOICE partner Super Consumers Australia has been advocating for the millions of Australians with super accounts and this funding would allow this good work to continue.
2. Introducing compulsory payday super
Requiring employers to pay super at the same time as wages will help people retire with more.
From 1 July 2026, employers must pay their employees super at the same time they pay wages. Currently, employers only have to pay super quarterly.
This is a significant change for two reasons. Firstly, people will retire with more due to the compound interest earned from having money in their super accounts for longer. The Budget papers estimated around 8.9 million Australians will benefit from higher retirement income as a result of getting their super earlier and more frequently during their working life.
Budget documents estimated that a 25-year-old worker who is currently only paid four times a year would see her retirement income increase by up to 1.5%, or $6000, because employers will pay her super more often.
Unpaid super had disproportionately impacted younger Australians; in 2021/22, 48% of those who reported unpaid super were under 35.
Secondly, this change will make it easier to track unpaid super. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimated there was $3.4 billion in unpaid super in the 2019/20 financial year.
Delayed super payments can make it harder for people to track if they've been paid all the super they've earned. Worse, a payment delay of months can mean that by the time people act to recover their unpaid super, their employer may have already gone insolvent. Real-time payment will make it easier for individuals to track non-payment of super and for the ATO to quickly identify employers who aren't paying their employees' super.
More than two-thirds of Australians agree that super should be paid alongside wages
Super Consumers Australia has been advocating for payday super for some time. Our national survey found that more than two-thirds of Australians agree that super should be paid alongside wages.
The introduction of payday super will also help address the problem of people's insurance being cancelled due to non-payment of insurance premiums. This situation can happen when a person doesn't have sufficient funds to pay the premiums while they wait months for their super to be topped up. If a person's insurance becomes inactive, their disability claim can be denied. Having no insurance could be devastating for someone who has lost the ability to work through illness or injury, or for someone relying on a family member for financial support who passes away.
In a related measure, the Budget also provided $40.2 million to the ATO in the 2023/34 financial year to help it identify and act on cases of unpaid super.
3. Changes to how super accounts above $3 million will be taxed
Finally, the Budget formally introduced an expected change to how earnings on large super accounts will be taxed. These changes will apply from 1 July 2025. Australians with a super balance below $3 million won't be affected.
The change will mean the concessional tax rate on earnings above $3 million will rise from 15% to 30%.
This reform aims to ensure generous superannuation concessions are better targeted. Super Consumers Australia says the change is a step towards a fairer retirement system.
This content was produced by Super Consumers Australia which is an independent, nonprofit consumer organisation partnering with CHOICE to advance and protect the interests of people in the Australian superannuation system.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.