Super industry fights plan

The powerful $1.75 trillion superannuation industry says it will continue to fight the federal government’s plans to scrap payments to the super accounts of millions of low-paid people.

The powerful $1.75 trillion superannuation industry says it will continue to fight the federal government’s plans to scrap payments to the super accounts of millions of low-paid people.

The Coalition has long promised to get rid of the low-income super concession, a payment of up to $500 a year for people earning up to $37,000, due to its links with the former government’s mining tax.

The concession is designed to compensate low-income earners for contributions tax paid on their super, and the industry argues that scrapping it hurts the low-paid, especially women and casual or part-time workers.

Four industry groups – Women in Super, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, Industry Super Australia and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia – argued to retain the concession in Canberra on Wednesday.

Alissa Harnath, of Women in Super, said holding on to the payment would be the group’s ‘‘main focus for the next six months, absolutely’’.

‘‘The Greens and Labor are behind it,’’ she said. ‘‘We will continue to lobby on it.’’

The push comes as the superannuation industry waits on a consultation paper to be released on Thursday by Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos. The paper will cover fund governance and the opening up of default funds in the modern award system.

It follows calls by the Productivity Commission and think tank the Grattan Institute for the government to increase the age at which people can access the age pension to 70.

The Grattan Institute also suggested the government lift the age at which people can access their super – called the preservation age – to 70.

The Financial Services Council, the lobby group for retail super funds such as AMP, has also backed a phased increase in the preservation age, to 62. The council does not support the abolition of the super concession.

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