Tax-free superannuation pensions will be safe from any changes considered by the Federal Government for the super system ahead of the May budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison told the SMSF Association’s national conference yesterday.

Showing the growing importance of the self-managed super fund industry, Morrison’s was the first appearance by any Treasurer before a national conference as he flew in especially for the event before flying to Melbourne for high level meetings with the Prime Minister.

Without giving detail on where Treasury would aim its crosshairs for removing tax concessions, Morrison assured delegates Australians would not be taxed in the pension phase as the government looked to provide certainty and stability for the sector.

“Taxing in retirement penalises Australians under rules they thought were there,’’ Morrison said, to applause from the audience.

But he suggested there was a “strong case” for examining tax treatment elsewhere in the system and the government was “getting to the landing point” on a decision as it consulted with peak super bodies including the SMSF Association.

“Right now it’s clear we’re going to have to make some hard decisions when it comes to address the targeting of these tax concessions going forward,’’ he said.

Concessions, a large proportion of which went to high income earners, were worth anywhere between $30 billion and $11 billion to revenue, he said.

Meanwhile the super productivity review, announced on Wednesday, was needed as fees on non-SMSF funds fell just 20 basis points in the past 10 years in tandem with the asset size of funds growing 12-fold.

“The super system can do with refining and that’s part of the reason people are turning to the SMSF sector. We want to see the sector deliver more options,’’ he said

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