Policies aimed at closing a big superannuation gap between men and women are being considered by federal Labor.
Australian women’s average superannuation balance on retirement was about half that of men, according to a report from the left-leaning McKell Institute.
That was partly due to the nation’s gender pay gap and partly because women were more likely than men to take time out of the workforce after the birth of children.
The situation means many thousands of women face low-income retirements.
The report’s eight recommendations included federal funding of superannuation for new parents receiving Commonwealth paid parental leave and people receiving parenting payments or carer payments.
It argued every dollar spent on its proposals would save $2 in future due to decreased spending on the age pension.
Braddon Labor MHR Justine Keay said the report highlighted much more needed to be done to close the gender gap on women’s superannuation.
”When looking at the issue of women’s superannuation balances, we know that women on average retire with significantly less than their male counterparts and something needs to be done about this,” Ms Keay said.
“Labor recognises this is a significant issue, and that is why we established a Senate inquiry into the issue.
“We are currently using the findings from this inquiry to look at how a Shorten Labor government can deliver policy that helps to close this gap and better support women in their retirement years.”
She said gender pay inequity was a major source of women’s lower super balances.
“The Senate inquiry found for two decades the pay gap has barely budged,” Ms Keay said.
“Unless government makes pay equity a priority, we will be in the same place two decades from now.
“Neither women nor our economy can afford that.”
The McKell Institute said superannuation policy had been gender blind.
“There have been few policy
responses specifically focused on addressing the shortfall in women’s super during
key life phases, such as early motherhood,” it said.
“Existing policy settings will perpetuate
the existing gender gap in superannuation.”