Planned changes to Qld public servants’ superannuation a ‘smash and grab’: Opposition

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The new bill allows the Treasurer to change the multiple that determines the final retirement payout for workers. It means some public servants under the defined benefits scheme will not be able to include allowances in their salary that is used to calculate their super.

Opposition treasury spokesman Scott Emerson said workers would be worse off and there had been no consultation.

“What we’re seeing here is once again another smash and grab by [Treasurer] Curtis Pitt,” he said.

“This is an unprecedented change to the rules for superannuation which Treasury officials have admitted could see some public servants lose $200,000 in their end-of-retirement payout.”

But Mr Pitt said the changes guarded against “over-inflated” payouts and was a fairer system.

“This is about ensuring that members of that scheme have equity right across the scheme,” he said.

“Currently bundling of allowances by some members artificially inflates their total remuneration package, to which a multiplier is applied, [which] results in unintended high payouts on retirement.

“In typical fashion, Mr Emerson is trying to oversimplify a complex issue with a three-word slogan.”

Mr Pitt said he was simply moving to formalise adjustments that were already being made.

“You need to turn that into legislation because that is the most appropriate way, otherwise you will have a lot of loose ends,” he said.

“This is effectively a legislative tidy up to put into effect what is already happening.”

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said it was reasonable for public servants’ super to be calculated on salary, including allowances.

Mr Nicholls said workers may get car or other allowances in lieu of salary, which should therefore be included in the final calculation.

“They get rolled up into superannuation, they spend their own money and that gets included in their salary,” he said.

“They expect that they will be paid out the full value of their salary when they retire — this is a reasonable expectation.”

It’s a matter of principle: union

Queensland’s public service union said the proposed changes would have little impact, but should be rejected on principle.

Secretary Alex Scott said he would urge crossbench MPs to join the Opposition in voting “no”.

“We’re not worried about its impact because we think it’s very minor, but we’re worried about the concept it would introduce,” he said.

“The bill, as it currently stands, would allow for a limited set of circumstances where the Treasurer could intervene.

“Our position is a matter of principle — there should never be any circumstances where the Treasurer could intervene, no matter how small or big it is.”

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