National advocacy and networking group Women in Super has called on the government to boost the superannuation accounts of low income earners to address the growing number of women who are retiring in poverty.
National chair, Cate Wood, spoke at the launch of the group's Make Super Fair campaign, and urged the immediate implementation of the policy nationwide, which would provide superannuation contributions of $1,000 annually to low income earners. Wood also wants to remove the $450 monthly income threshold on super contributions that see over 220,000 women per year miss out on super, for the super guarantee to be raised to 12 per cent, and for super to be paid during parental leave.
Wood said, ‘We must do better than a system that sees women retiring with 47 per cent less than men. This is a crisis, and unless we act now we will be leaving a tragic legacy for younger women, and it is not fair or reasonable to simply tell women to fix the problem themselves. We need to get the basics right.’
According to the current estimates, women retire with an average of $85,000 or 47 per cent less super than men and more than 40 per cent of older single women live in poverty.
Under the Women in Super plan, women aged 25 who earn $25,000 a year would see their super balance increase by 14.7 per cent or $30,137 by retirement.
Women aged 25 with fragmented paid work who earn $35,000 a year would see their balance increase by $27,555 or 11.7 per cent at retirement.
Under the plan both male and female low-income earners would be eligible for the payment until their super balance reached $100,000.
The estimated additional annual government super contribution would cost the government $2.7 billion dollars per year.
Women in Super noted that approximately $30 billion is spent by the government on super tax concessions annually, the majority of which are paid to high income earners.