Over the past few months I have been contacted by many constituents from across the federal electorate of Parkes expressing their concerns about the future direction of superannuation in Australia.
The Federal Government recognises that superannuation is, by its nature, a long-term investment and considers it important that people have sufficient confidence in the system to trust their savings to it for significant periods of time.
As recommended by the Financial System Inquiry, the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP has announced that the Coalition Government will be enshrining the objective of the superannuation system in law. This will help provide greater long-term confidence and policy stability.
In order to kick-start the process, the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer has released a discussion paper entitled 'The objective of superannuation’ for public consultation.
I believe it is crucial for the Government to have a conversation about the precise wording of the objective so that we can help frame the broader conversation we need to have about superannuation.
I fully understand that when we are dealing with superannuation we are dealing with the future livelihoods of all Australians. We need to strive for a world class system that not only protects our individual futures but also provides for a strong and sustainable national economy.
I encourage everyone to review the discussion paper and consider lodging a submission online at www.treasury.gov.au/ConsultationsandReviews/Consultations/2016/Objective-of-superannuation.
Submissions will close on 6 April 2016.
Families currently receiving the Child Care Benefit or Child Care Rebate have less than a week left to make sure their child’s immunisations are on track by 18 March 2016, so they don’t miss out on child care payments under the No Jab No Pay policy.
Following the announcement of the policy last year, the percentage of 12 to 15 month old fully-immunised children rose from 90.69 per cent in 2014 to 92.28 per cent by the end of 2015.
Across the country the Coalition Government has seen a sharp rise in the number of children being immunised against preventable diseases and in New South Wales there are about 92 per cent of children who have been immunised.
The overwhelming number of Australian families who have immunised their children before the March 18 deadline has put pressure on state and territories processing these records and this has caused slight delays. Some jurisdictions need extra time to add all the records into the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.
This is a positive challenge to have. To protect families who have done the right thing and because the delay in records is beyond the control of parents, the Department of Human Services will continue to pay Child Care Benefit beyond that date until the immunisation register is up to date.
Parents whose children are not vaccinated by 18 March (or a later date if previously notified by Centrelink), and do not have a valid medical exemption or are not on a catch-up schedule, will start incurring a debt for any child care payments they receive after that date. They will have to repay that debt.
Parents who do not intend to vaccinate their child can ask the Department of Human Services to stop their child care subsidies straight away, to avoid incurring a debt.
For more information about the changes to immunisation requirements please go to www.humanservices.gov.au/immunisation