Page 3504 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.53): I reiterate what I said earlier in relation to the Treasurer’s amendment No 2 and clause 5 of the bill.

Clause 5 negatived.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Superannuation (Legislative Assembly Members) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 7 August 2008, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.54): The objective of this bill is to bring the superannuation arrangements for members of the ACT Legislative Assembly into line with other Australian parliaments and into line with the provisions that are now in place for ACT public servants. I thank the Treasurer’s office for arranging a detailed briefing on this bill.

To this point, we members have continued to have access to a defined benefit superannuation scheme. Moreover, our current superannuation arrangements are relatively generous when compared to those for parliaments in other jurisdictions. Only Queensland now retains access, as a choice, to a defined benefit option. All other parliaments have accumulation schemes. Of course, a significant mitigating factor is that the base member’s salary in the ACT is the second lowest in Australia.

What is being proposed through this bill is that we bring new members into line with what is accepted as the general community standard by removing access to the defined benefit scheme and by having access to a choice of superannuation funds. It is quite reasonable for we members to expect that we should have superannuation arrangements that are aligned with the community standard. The ACT government has already acted to change the superannuation arrangements for ACT public servants and this bill will align new members of the Assembly with those arrangements.

The bill essentially has two components. One component deals with those members who are elected for the first time at the October 2008 election. For these members, their superannuation will comprise having a choice of funds that provide accumulation benefits or, if no choice is made, utilising the territory’s default accumulation benefit fund; having employer contributions set at 14 per cent; and having an additional employer contribution of one per cent if the member contributes at least an additional three per cent.

I should observe that, while these members will lose having access to a defined benefit fund, the reality is that the community standard is now established as providing superannuation through accumulation benefit schemes. Each of the other parliaments has accumulation schemes for their members, with Queensland providing

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