CEO of AIST, Fiona Reynolds, says efficiently implementing TFN identification and agreeing on universal data standards are the first steps in demonstrating to the Government the super industry is ready for, and able to implement, change. Finally the wait is over. After 18 months of looking at the super system, we now know what the Federal Government has planned for the industry and when it is going to be delivered. We might whinge about the amount of work that is ahead of us, but we can’t complain that the Government is not listening to us. Jeremy Cooper has reason to be pleased with the extent to which the Government listened to his panel, with 139 of his 177 recommendations picked up – including many of the key (but thankfully not all) recommendations on SuperStream and MySuper.

There may be a wealth of detail in the Cooper Report and the Government’s response but make no mistake, the implementation of these changes will fundamentally change the face of superannuation. Together with the increase in SG contributions to 12 per cent, a better, stronger, more memberfocused system will emerge… eventually! In the meantime, everyone at AIST and many other parts of the super industry are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready for the very extensive consultation process the Government has put in place. This will include an overarching consultative group and four subgroups – for SuperStream, MySuper, SMSFs, and governance. These groups will have all the recommendations divided between them, be given terms of reference and a timetable, and sent out to work. First out of the blocks will be a number of SuperStream issues that are critically important building blocks for an improved super system.

The Government has said it wants Tax File Numbers to be used as primary superannuation account identifiers from July 1, 2011. Simple as it seems, this idea has been around for a long time – it has been a part of ALP policy for almost a decade and AIST was encouraging an expanded role for TFNs back in 2002 when we ran the “Lost Super Week” campaign. So it’s terrific to see this finally happening. With all these things, of course, the devil is always in the detail, and turning this idea into reality will be a challenge for the ATO, administrators and everyone else in between. Managing privacy issues, properly resourcing the ATO, and providing real time online TFN verification are some of the key issues.

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