Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry: Economic security for women
Coalition Senators' additional comments:
Coalition members welcome the committee’s interest in investigating the
gender retirement income gap and its focus on improving the economic security
of women in retirement.
The committee has heard that women have lower superannuation balances as
a result of lower lifetime earnings. Reasons for this include but are not
the gender pay gap
women having more breaks in their career for family and other
women representing a higher proportion of the part-time workforce
This translates into lower contributions and less capacity to make
voluntary contributions. As a result, women are more likely to rely on the Age
Pension. This is particularly problematic because women live longer than men.
Improving gender equality and female participation in the workforce is essential
to boosting Australia’s productivity and our economic growth. It is also
essential to closing the retirement savings gap between men and women.
The committee has heard that closing the gender gap in lifetime earnings
would do the most to improve the retirement savings of women.
Coalition members note the legal framework of superannuation is
gender-blind; with the same rules applying to women as to men.
The committee has heard a range of suggestions on how we can bridge the
gap. The challenge is how we can target changes to where they will make the
most difference to savings behaviour and retirement incomes.
The Government has engaged in a considered and thorough process on how
we can make our tax system better, including taking a comprehensive look at
superannuation. Coalition members note the 2016-17 Budget will be released
within days of releasing this report.
Coalition members express concerns regarding recommendation 1. The
independent Productivity Commission recently conducted a review of the
workplace framework and received submissions which dealt with the equal
remuneration provisions of the Fair Work Act.
Coalition members note that the issue of the gender pay gap is complex
and not caused by any one factor. Central to the solution is to boost female
workforce participation, and measures to promote female participation should be
the primary consideration rather than another review.
Coalition members express concerns regarding recommendation 13 and note
that increases in the superannuation guarantee are largely funded from
reductions in take-home wages. The current phasing puts more money in
employees' pockets while, boosting near-term economic activity.
Edwards Senator Dean Smith
Deputy Chair Liberal
Party Senator Western Australia
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