Peter Strong

“And often that involves not just talking in slogans, but also thinking about systems.

“Having little businesses administering super choice doesn’t seem to me to make much sense, and simply saying to consumers, ‘You’ve got super choice’, without trying to attend to the sorts of cognitive inefficiencies that we’ve had in the system, hopefully, before the Cooper Review starts to clean some of those things up, seems to me to be pretty unwise.”

Ultimately, getting legislation through the Parliament to raise the SG will depend on the support of the Independents. Rob Oakeshott, the member for Lyne, was invited to the roundtable, but industrial action by Qantas meant he found himself stranded in Port Macquarie on the day.

An indication of how little impact this issue has actually made out in the electorate comes from the peak consumer lobby group, Choice, whose director of campaigns, Christopher Zinn, says the group hasn’t really given the issue of raising the SG, and adequacy, much thought.

Well I hate to say that we’re sitting on the fence, because I hope it’s not completely like that, but as I said, we are great supporters of compulsory super, and have been in the past,” Zinn says.

“[But] we haven’t really done the work in terms of the adequacy, that is, what really will be enough? And, I think I probably wear two hats being here today: one is Choice, in terms of our role; but I have actually consulted more widely among that group known as the ‘consumer industry’, or whatever you want to call them, and I’d have to say that the views are surprisingly polarised on this one.

“That indicates to me that there is a great deal more information that needs to be out there, understandably, and a lot more debate. Often our role is to question, one, a suite of [issues] around adequacy; and then, two around product design.

“And certainly they’ve been some great advances in terms of product design of super. I think we’d still be keen to push some a bit further, [to] see how they bed down. As I said, we are firm supporters of compulsory super but quite what that level should be I think we’d still want some more debate around it.”

Choice has been a strong supporter of the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms, and addressing conflicts in the financial planning space. Zinn says Choice recognises that implementing FoFA is an important element – along with raising the SG – in producing better results for consumers. He says there are five issues Choice is focused on.

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