Cutting super will send retirement balances of Townsville women into freefall

Industry Super Australia

Townsville women’s super savings are dropping drastically behind Queensland and the nation, without urgent action to arrest the slide local women will keep falling further behind.

Women on the cusp of retirement have a median super balance of just $121,800 in the Herbert electorate and $142,800 in Dawson – both well below the $545,000 needed for a comfortable retirement.

While Townsville women’s balances are persistently lower than men throughout their life the gap rises to more than 50% in their 40s. It narrows slightly in their 50s but women in the electorate of Herbert still retire with more than a third less than men and in Dawson it is 23% less.

These stark figures highlight the need to lift the super rate as legislated from 9.5% to 12%.

Women on middle to low-income are the most likely to get the legislated super boost, lifting the rate will give them the power to choose how they live in retirement. Despite this the government has said it considering cutting the super rate increase.

A 30-year-old woman on the median wage could have up to $85,000 less at retirement if the super rate is cut, which could cause a generation of women to suffer further economic insecurity.

While the gender gap widens the government has been dragging its feet on other important reforms which will improve Townsville women’s retirement outcomes including:

· Paying super on every dollar earnt, including Commonwealth paid parental leave;

· Abolishing the $450 threshold where super is not paid unless you earn more than that a month, this greatly impacts women as they are more likely to have multiple part-time jobs;

· Failing to enact super splitting legislation, this streamlines the splitting of super assets and allows more women to get their fair share of super when a relationship ends.

A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men, this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their final super balance. One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.

The government has said it is considering cutting the rate at 9.5% – even though government MPs – like George Christensen and Phillip Thompson – pocket more than 15% super on top of their parliamentary wages.

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