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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 3001..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In all jurisdictions other than Western Australia and the ACT, parliamentary superannuation benefits are equivalent to those benefits available to its public servants. The amendments in this bill will mean that the level of benefit remains more generous than parliamentary superannuation arrangements affecting new politicians in all other jurisdictions, apart from commencing federal politicians who have an employer contribution rate of 15.4 per cent.

In suggesting these changes to MLAs' superannuation, I acknowledge that ACT MLAs are the second lowest paid across all jurisdictions. The proposed changes, however, still provide the most generous superannuation, excluding the commonwealth. The proposed rate also remains above the community standard. It is possible that the Remuneration Tribunal will take this into account next time it assesses wage arrangements and it may, though I hope not, lead to some upward pressure on wages.

The bill contains amendment to apply to new MLAs who will be offered choice of fund into an accumulation benefit scheme, with an employer contribution of 14 per cent. Similar to the ACT government public service, if a new MLA contributes at least three per cent towards their superannuation, an additional one per cent contribution will be made by the employer, meaning a contribution by the employer of either 14 or 15 per cent. If no choice of fund is elected by the MLA, the superannuation contributions will be paid to the territory's nominated default fund, which is currently First State Super.

The bill also amends the arrangements for existing MLAs in that they will have the option to elect to participate in the new arrangements by electing a choice of fund, whilst maintaining the current entitlement of an employer contribution rate of 24 per cent. Members will be able to make voluntary contributions as opposed to the mandatory five per cent contribution under the existing arrangement, and salary sacrificing could be used for additional contributions in accordance with the conditions of the Remuneration Tribunal determinations made for members of the Assembly. If an existing MLA elects to choose a fund, their entitlements accumulated under the existing scheme will be calculated and a rollover payment will be made to a nominated complying superannuation fund.

These new arrangements will offer MLAs a choice of superannuation fund into an accumulation benefit scheme design; the choice of investment strategy, allowing employees' superannuation contributions to be invested in a manner determined by the member if they so wish; portability of superannuation; access to a full range of insurance cover, including death, total and permanent disablement and income protection; and ancillary member services such as on-line access to personal information and ability to manage retirement savings in a manner that suits each individual's needs and satisfies their objectives.

I commend the Superannuation (Legislative Assembly Members) Amendment Bill 2008 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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