The Senate has approved a cross-party motion to launch a senate inquiry into gender inequity in the super system.
The motion, backed by Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, Liberal Senator Sean Edwards and Greens Senator Larissa Waters, was passed on Monday.
The initial impetus for the senate inquiry came from the Greens.
Women’s superannuation outcomes are radically inferior to men’s, with women on average retiring with just over half as much superannuation as men.
This is largely down to the fact that women are on average paid less than men, and take more time out of the workforce to have children.
The superannuation industry was quick to welcome the inquiry.
Industry Super Australia deputy chief executive Robbie Campo said: “We strongly welcome a review of how the super system can better deliver for Australian women.
“Industry Super Australia’s modelling shows that even with super, pension payments and other savings combined, 63% of single women will still not be retiring comfortably by 2055 unless we act now to restructure our retirement income system.
“Superannuation outcomes depend on the level of contributions, compound earnings and government tax concessions. Women currently earn lower average pay than men and their super accumulation is typically disrupted to take time out to have children. This results in lower contributions, lower compound earnings and a poorer standard of retirement,” she said.
HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said: “We have a sophisticated retirement system but it’s based on the premise that all Australians enjoy uninterrupted working lives. For many women, this simply isn’t the case.
“Women – including many HESTA members – commonly take unpaid career breaks to care for loved ones. Few receive super during these breaks, which can have a significant impact on their finances in retirement.”