‘Save billions’: Change superannuation access, report recommends

Mr Billson was responding to new modelling from the Productivity Commission, released on Tuesday, reiterating the government had no plans to make any adverse, unexpected changes to super.

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“The Productivity Commission report is a useful contribution to the tax white paper process, but that’s it,” he told ABC radio.

The federal opposition believes making people wait longer to access their super would be a retrograde step and wants Tony Abbott to rule out the changes.

Labor has called on the government to rule out increasing to 65 the age Australians can first access their superannuation.

The change is canvassed in a report by the Productivity Commission, released on Tuesday, showing it could increase Treasury coffers by $7 billion a year towards the middle of the century.

Its modelling also suggests households that delay their retirement would be expected to do so by two years and see their super savings increase by about 10 per cent by the time they retire.

The opposition is not impressed.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says making people wait longer to access their super would be a retrograde step.

“Clearly the prime minister should rule that out today,” he told ABC radio.

Liberal MP Andrew Laming said it was no secret the government wanted Australians to stay in the workforce longer.

“In a wealthy economy, where we’re all living longer we do have to think about collecting superannuation later, for the simple reason that it needs to last for our expected longevity,” he said.

But there needed to be arrangements for people who pull out of the workforce involuntarily because of illness or redundancies – something the commission recommended.

The commission dispelled the myth that retirees waste their super, finding most are prudent in the ways they spend the saving.

Less than 30 per cent of super benefits are taken as lump sums and when they are, Australians frequently use it to pay down debt, invest, or purchase “durable goods” to use through their retirement, the report said.

The commission called for a further holistic review of retirement and superannuation, an idea pushed by the Australian Greens.

The preservation age for superannuation already is being gradually increased from 55 and will reach 60 by 2025.

Mr Abbott last week ruled out his government ever increasing taxes on superannuation.

Labor has announced plans to cut super tax concessions for high-income earners, raising the budget $14 billion in a decade.

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