Second Reading SpeechSenator Ian Campbell
That this bill be now read a second time.
The Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Bill 1999 (the bill) establishes a scheme for ensuring that superannuation members who have lost contact with their fund have a comprehensive register to check where their superannuation is held. The bill will overcome deficiencies in existing provisions relating to unclaimed money and lost members.
With the increased superannuation coverage brought about by the superannuation guarantee arrangements introduced in 1992, many casual and itinerant workers (eg. farm and mining labourers) and those with broken employment patterns became `lost' members in that they lost the paperwork associated with their account, were never given the paperwork because they terminated employment before their superannuation guarantee contributions were made or lost contact with their fund in other circumstances.
The bill will particularly benefit employees who have changed jobs regularly, who have moved interstate or overseas and who have multiple superannuation accounts.
The bill formalises the Commissioner of Taxation's administration of unclaimed superannuation money and the details of lost members. This recognises the experience and efficiencies that the Australian Taxation Office has in system administration.
The bill also has a number of other important objectives. The bill:
- provides for greater co-operation between the Commonwealth, States and Territories in reuniting members with their superannuation;
- extends the use of the tax file numbers (TFNs) to lost members and unclaimed superannuation money held by the States and Territories consistent with the use of TFNs in other parts of the superannuation industry (eg. superannuation funds and unclaimed superannuation money held by the Commonwealth); and
- ensures consistent taxation treatment of unclaimed superannuation money held by the States and Territories.
The bill will result in a small unquantifiable increase in revenue due to the application of consistent taxation treatment to unclaimed superannuation money held by the States and Territories. The bill will also lead to a substantial reduction in administration costs for the Commonwealth, States and Territories as a consequence of provisions facilitating greater co-operation between stakeholders and by extending the use of TFNs to lost members and unclaimed superannuation money held by the States and Territories.
The bill has a minimal compliance cost impact.
Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.
I commend the bill.