Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello, MP)
This Bill will make amendments to the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 (the SRC Act) to enable the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (the Tribunal) to arbitrate superannuation complaints with the consent of the parties.
The SRC Act provides for the establishment of the Tribunal to deal with superannuation complaints in a manner that is fair, economical, informal and quick.
However, in February 1998, the Federal Court decisions of
Wilkinson v Clerical Administrative and Related Employees Superannuation Pty Ltd
152 ALR 332 and Brekler v Leshem  57 FCA (unreported, 12 February 1998) (the Federal Courtdecisions) significantly impaired the ability of the Tribunal to meet its objectives.
In July 1998, the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation reviewed the impact of the Federal Court decisions and recommended that the Government investigate the feasibility of putting an interim solution in place.
The Government is committed to ensuring that superannuation fund members have access to an effective dispute resolution mechanism as an alternative to the courts. Accordingly, the Bill amends the SRC Act to confer on the Tribunal the function of arbitrating complaints with the consent of the parties to the complaint. This will help address the backlog of complaints that have built up since the Federal Court decisions.