Page 2397 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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According to the Budget Papers, unfunded superannuation liabilities are expected to grow by $121m from $851m in 2004 to $972m in 2007.

But to balance that view, of course, the Auditor-General does note:

As the full extent of unfunded superannuation liabilities does not have to be met for some years, there is no current threat to the Territory’s finances. However, the Territory will have to fund its superannuation commitments to ensure that the current shortfall does not grow to a size that will create significant financial difficulties.

It was an area that we examined in some detail in the course of estimates. I was satisfied, on the basis of the information provided, that prudent measures are in place to deal with this issue, notwithstanding the actuarial changes that will come along as a consequence of changing life expectancy and the like. But, from the information that was available to the committee, I do not believe that this matter will become an issue of heightened concern. It is being tackled. It is recognised as an issue. For that reason, I would not be raising serious concerns at this point.

One other minor issue that I notice within the Superannuation Unit’s role is that it also supports the government in the consideration of appropriate superannuation arrangements for members of the Assembly. I am of the view that it is an area that ought to be tackled. It is less of a concern to some than others. Nevertheless, we do have a fairly inadequate arrangement in the ACT. I think they have made some progress on aspects of the position of members in recent times.

The resourcing issues remain outstanding. Particularly for younger members of the Assembly entering this place, I think the issue of the superannuation arrangements is a matter of critical concern. We would not accept these arrangements in other areas of government. I think that those seeking election to office should have some comfort in the superannuation arrangements. I know there are members of the Assembly who have generated superannuation schemes from elsewhere, through government service or the like. But it is a matter that ought, at some point, receive the attention of the government and, I suggest, even you, sir.

DR FOSKEY (5.56): I want to speak briefly. Mr Mulcahy covered most of the ground that I would have covered, referring to the Auditor-General’s concern. I am feeling somewhat reassured by the Treasurer’s advice in the estimates hearing that the ACT government has set out to fund up to 90 per cent of our superannuation liability by 2040 and that he currently believes we should hit this target by 2023 due to the 1 July introduction of the PSS accumulation scheme.

Nonetheless, superannuation is something we should keep an eye on in the future, given the commonwealth’s change from the defined benefits scheme to the accumulation scheme and the government’s potential growth in superannuation liabilities in the future. And yes, I do think that members’ superannuation is an issue that could be looked at, certainly for the convenience of members to have all their superannuation from one place.

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