The prime minister says he had a responsibility to act on making changes to taxes on superannuation, following departmental advice on multimillion-dollar balances.
While there had been broad community support for doubling the tax rate for superannuation balances with more than $3 million, Anthony Albanese indicated other tax changes were not on the horizon.
The tax rate for super balances of more than $3 million will rise from 15 per cent to 30 per cent from July 2025, after the next federal election.
Mr Albanese told the Australian Financial Review’s Business Summit there was a larger imperative to act after seeing figures showing 17 people had more than $100 million in their super fund.
“When you get briefed by Treasury about that, you’ve got a responsibility to act,” he told the summit.
“That was the advice that we got, and when you look at the purpose of super, it’s very clear that that’s not the purpose of superannuation, so it was a worthwhile reform to do.”
The most recent Newspoll found a majority of voters supported the super changes, including 80 per cent of Labor voters and 54 per cent of Liberal voters.
However, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has promised to repeal the changes should the coalition win the next election.
Mr Dutton told his party room on Tuesday the heart of Labor’s changes was a “wealth distribution mentality”.
He said the government had broken the trust of the public after promising not to touch superannuation at the last federal election.
“That defies the incentives to lock money away for long periods of time,” Mr Dutton said of the proposed changes.
Reflecting on his time as assistant treasurer under John Howard, Mr Dutton said the former prime minister told him the most important thing about super as an asset class was that it needed to be “stable and reliable”.
Opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said the government was relying on retirees to fix growing levels of debt.
“Perhaps the Albanese government could consider changing its attitude towards its budget spending, rather than increasing taxes,” she told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
“The best way to manage a budget … (is) simply controlling those spending urges, potentially reprioritising some of that enormous election wish list that the Labor government came to government with.”
(Australian Associated Press)