Anika Wells MP doorstop at Port of Brisbane


SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison’s infrastructure investment penalty; gender superannuation gap.

ANIKA WELLS, MEMBER FOR LILLEY: Good morning everyone. I'm Anika Wells, the Federal Member for Lilley. And we’re here with you today at the Port of Brisbane to talk about the Morrison Government's ideological attack on superannuation funds. Now why are we here at the port to talk about that? Because it might not seem obvious initially but an ideological attack on superannuation funds has real life deadly impacts on workers here in Brisbane. Firstly, the fact that there are penalties that could be applied on superannuation funds of this legislation proceeds from the Government has a real impact on the ability of major asset funders, like superannuation funds, to invest in great, long-term nation-building infrastructure like the Port of Brisbane here in this electorate and like Brisbane Airport in my electorate. Now what happens if these businesses and these assets don’t feel confident to invest, 30,000 jobs stand at risk. We’ve got 24,000 jobs reliant on Brisbane Airport, we’ve got 4,000 jobs reliant on the Port of Brisbane here. So Brisbane workers need to know that their local economy can support long term nation building infrastructure and we can only do that when you have superannuation funds feeling confident and having the ability to invest in those projects. The second reason we are talking about the Government’s ideological attack on superannuation funds is we need our superannuation funds to be strong and well managed to support our workers. Because despite the fact that the Treasurer says the gender pay gap is 13%, it’s actually 31% once you take into account casual, part time jobs, overtime and bonuses. The gender pay gap is actually at 31%. And women being able to retire with adequate superannuation is a huge component of that. So we need to make superannuation funds are strong, they are supported by good legislation, they are not under attack by their own Prime Minister. Because Brisbane workers need local jobs in our economy and women workers need to know they have enough to live on. Because we know at the moment, we know that women between 60 and 64, nearly a quarter of them, 23%, are retiring with no super at all. So I’m so pleased that our Shadow Minister for Superannuation, among other things, has rode in to fight the fight here with us in Brisbane and may I hand over to Stephen Jones.

STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks so much Anika, great to be here. I want to start by thanking Roy and his team for showing us around his fantastic facility. Port of Brisbane, this is a world-class port, fantastic infrastructure creating jobs, growth and wealth for the people of Queensland and the people of Australia. The thing that most people wouldn’t have known is it is majority owned by Australian superannuation funds. Long-term, patient investors who are here for the long term. They don't want to see this port just stagnate. They want to see it expand and grow and ensure that it can grow and be a part of the growth of Queensland. And one of the reasons they're able to do that is because superannuation funds have seen the opportunity for a long-term investment. We want to see more of this, not less. That’s why we’re deeply concerned about the legislation that Scott Morrison has introduced into the Federal Parliament, he is trying to ram it through before the middle of the year, which will penalise Australian superannuation funds who want to make investments like this. It doesn’t make sense that we introduce new laws which will make it easier for Australian superannuation funds to invest in ports and infrastructure in other countries than it would in our own. It doesn't make sense to introduce laws that will make it easier for sovereign wealth funds and superannuation funds from other countries to invest in our infrastructure than it would for our own superannuation funds. But that’s exactly what Scott Morrison is proposing to do. We’re calling on him to withdraw the legislation, take a step back and work with Labor and work with the industry to ensure that our superannuation funds can perform, deliver great returns for workers and great returns for the country. Now superannuation isn’t perfect. There's some changes that need to happen. We know that there is a big gap, for example, between the superannuation retirement balance of women and men. As it stands today the average woman in Australia retires with $118,000 in their superannuation. The average male, about $188,000. That gap is too great and we have got to shrink it. Scott Morrison promised before the last election that he would not cut superannuation. So now he's proposing to do exactly that. And what makes this most offensive is that Scott Morrison will learn more superannuation in two years than the average Australian women retires on. We’re calling on Scott Morrison to keep his promise, and let’s put in place policies which are going to close the gap, not make it greater.

JOURNALIST: Like what? What will close the gap?

JONES: The best thing we can do to close the superannuation gap is to keep your promises, to ensure that superannuation goes to 12% as is legislated, as was promised. We also need to look at superannuation paid on paid maternity leave and we also need to close the gender pay gap. Most powerful thing we can do to close the superannuation gap is to close the gap in pay between men and women because superannuation is paid as a percentage of wages.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the Government has taken too long to (indistinct)?

JONES: I think the Government's got a blind spot when it comes to the realities of work for women and the situation facing women in the workforce. The Government has a blindside. They don’t understand it therefore they don’t have the solutions that fix it. We’re willing to work with anyone who sees this is a priority, because ensuring that women get a fair deal is the way that we want to see Australia come out of this covid recession. We want to ensure that we don’t go back to all the problems that existed prior to covid. We want to ensure that we’re building back with fairer workplaces and fairer outcomes for women workers.