Ensuring women have sufficient superannuation to last them in retirement demands that the government address policy settings around superannuation that negatively impact upon women, says Greens Senator and women's spokesperson Lee Rhiannon ("Money crunch forces women back to work", Sydney Morning Herald today).
"A plan to address the gender gap in retirement income is something the Federal Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins should put at the top of her 'to do' list," Senator Rhiannon said.
"All Australians deserve a decent retirement, regardless of their gender or income.
"Remedies to address superannuation inequality for women are already on the table and they should be considered as part of the government's promised Superannuation Roundtable.
"A key solution involves reviewing superannuation tax concessions that disadvantage women on low incomes.
"Australian Greens leader Bob Brown is calling on the government to reform superannuation tax breaks in the upcoming budget.
"The Greens plan involves taxing superannuation contributions at a person's marginal tax rate minus 15%. This would mean low income earners, primarily women, would pay no tax and therefore will save more for their retirement.
"Other solutions include removing the $450 per month Super Guarantee Charge threshold under which employers are not required to make super contributions.
"The government should reconsider paid parental leave with superannuation, as previously proposed by the Greens.
"Allowing compulsory and voluntary contribution catch-ups for women taking maternity leave is another policy solution.
"The gender gap in retirement is stark. The Australian Human Rights Commission quotes statistics showing that the average super payout for women is a third that of men, at $37,000 compared to $110,000.
"Part-time work, caring responsibilities and lower pay all contribute to the superannuation inequities between men and women.
"Women live longer than men yet have less super in their pocket. A government review of superannuation policy and women is long overdue," Senator Rhiannon said.