Labor has accused Coalition MPs lobbying for a delay in raising the superannuation guarantee of trying to force more people to retire in poverty.
Almost a dozen backbenchers have called for the federal government to delay the legislated rise from 9.5 to 12 per cent because of the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.
Senior opposition frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said it continued the trend of Liberals and Nationals looking to smash superannuation.
“It’s just one more way of ensuring people retire in poverty,” she told the ABC on Monday.
Ms Plibersek criticised the government for allowing people to access retirement savings early for discretionary spending, as part of the coronavirus support plan.
“This government does not know how to look after peoples’ retirement savings and it’s a recipe for disaster for many, many Australians,” she said.
Ten MPs have told the Nine newspapers that small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford a higher rate of compulsory super.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the ongoing retirement income review was being used as a stalking horse to cut super.
“This crisis shouldn’t be an excuse for more attacks on Australia’s world-class super system,” he said.
Liberal MP Tim Wilson said increasing the guarantee would cost jobs and wages.
“If we go down this path at this time it will increase unemployment,” he told Sky News.
“If it’s a choice between increasing the super guarantee now and going back to work, I’ll back Australians going back to work.”
He said Labor needed to move away from their “puppet masters” in industry super funds.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government’s position on super had not changed.
“If policies get reviewed at any point in time, well that’s a consideration for that time. That’s not something that’s occurring at the moment,” he said on Monday.
Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean said the Coalition MPs were out of touch with the community.
Legislated super guarantee increases will lift the current rate of 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent from July 2021. It will then lift by 0.5 percentage points each year until it reaches 12 per cent in July 2025.