Abbott prefers 'carrots over sticks' for super

by Adam Smith18 Nov 2011

Australian BrokerNews has heard Opposition Leader Tony Abbott claim this morning that the Coalition will not roll back compulsory superannuation contributions if it wins government, but that the party preferred to provide incentives rather than “coerce people”.

Speaking to a Financial Services Council breakfast in Sydney, Abbott said the Coalition was would not support the current legislation to increase mandatory super contributions, but would not rescind it if they come into power.

“We have been perfectly consistent on this subject for the last two decades. We are not instinctive supporters of mandatory superannuation contributions. Our instinct is to provide incentives, not to coerce people. Nevertheless, once these things are there we don't add to them, but we don't roll them back,” Abbott said.
Abbott also conceded that a level of compulsory contribution could be necessary, given the low saving rate among Australians.

“We do accept that it is very important that people have adequate retirement incomes, particularly with an ageing population. I should also acknowledge that in a country like Australia with a strong welfare safety net, most people most of the time do not save very much, and it is perhaps important to have an element of compulsion if there is going to be the level of national saving that we would like to have,” he said.

Abbott argued that the Coalition was not “given a lot of credit” by the Government for being interested in superannuation, but was nevertheless committed to retirement savings.

“Our approach tends to be rather different to that of our political opponents. We are more into carrots than sticks. We are more into incentives than compulsion. Nevertheless, we are just as interested as they are in this whole subject of retirement savings, because it is so important to the long-term welfare of our people and the long-term welfare of our country,” Abott said.