The Government looks unlikely to make any major changes to its plan to simplify and streamline superannuation, following the closing of the three-month consultation process in August.

Speaking at an industry seminar in Canberra last week hosted by Rice Warner Actuaries, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, said succumbing to the individual needs of industry participants would lose the simplicity that the reform was built around. “All the industry submissions asked for transitional rules to cover their needs. We can’t do it, we will lose the simplicity. That is how we got into this mess in the first place,” he said. “There is a big trade off between simplicity and equity in individual cases. These are clean rules, if we start putting exceptions in we will lose the whole reform.” “Cut us some slack here is what I say to the industry,” Costello said. “Let’s not lose sight of the big picture for the detail.” As well as meetings with the industry, the Treasurer’s office received more than 1500 written submissions and had more than 3500 calls on the policy. None of the submissions included a submission from the Labor Party. The Treasurer promised that the reform would sweep away the complex rules, increase incentives to save and to work, and increase retirement income. “There is nothing more important to retirement income policy and adequacy of it than economic management. We can show we will have a better retirement income for the average worker and that it is fiscally sustainable.” Costello said the July 1, 2007 changes would enhance the positions of Australian retirees who were already in an enviable position when viewed on a world stage. “At international meetings of finance minsters I always get asked about our pension system,” he said. “And subject to good economic management Australians can look forward to a sustainable retirement income system that I believe will be the envy of the world.”

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