One of Australia’s most senior economic advisers has argued there are no free lunches when it comes to increasing the superannuation guarantee.
Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan says employers will have to find the money somewhere.
“There’s no free lunch,” he told a Senate committee on Thursday.
“It comes from somewhere, it’s an increase in the net cost to the employer.
“Something’s got to give, so whether that’s a slowing of what would otherwise be pay rises or employing fewer people. It shows up somewhere.”
His remarks are similar to previous comments made by the Reserve Bank governor and head of Treasury.
The federal government has been softening the ground to walk away from increasing the super guarantee.
It’s legislated to incrementally rise from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, starting with a move to 10 per cent next year.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers has rejected suggestions an increase in superannuation will be paid for by a decrease in pay rises.
“I think that link is more or less broken,” he said.
“The truth is that the very small increase in the superannuation guarantee which is slated for July next year would have a negligible impact.”
Labor has accused the coalition government of using another parliamentary committee to wage an ideological war on superannuation.
Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh railed against the witness list for Thursday’s hearing to scrutinise the retirement savings sector.
He said the opposition wanted to grill retail funds called before the royal commission but were instead presented with five industry schemes.
“This request was ignored by the coalition, which are using this committee to wage an ideological war against superannuation,” Dr Leigh said.
“Today’s schedule reflects the ideological predispositions of the coalition.”
Committee chair and Liberal MP Tim Wilson accused Dr Leigh of misleading parliament and the broader community.
“You can lie as much as you want,” he told the hearing.
ISPT, Industry Super Holdings and CBUS were listed for an hour apiece.
Retail fund AMP, which copped a reputation mauling at the banking royal commission, was allotted 45 minutes, the same time as Hostplus and Mine Super – both industry schemes.
ISPT confirmed it was not called before the Hayne inquiry, which made no adverse findings against the industry fund.
“It does make it extraordinary the committee has scheduled an hour to speak with you today then,” Dr Leigh said.