Bureaucracy lacking in reform approach
Treasury officials, not politicians, must take the blame for short-sighted policies on super.
A PERFECT example of the pot calling the kettle black was former Treasury secretary Ken Henry's criticism of Australia's politicians for their short-term perspective that hindered bold policy initiatives. Treasury's past record of advice on superannuation and other tax shelters provides an excellent case study of short-sightedness and obstinate obstruction of longer-term reforms.
Even in the 1980's when significant reform was possible before the burden of an ageing population had become a real issue, Treasury representatives on the occupational superannuation taskforce obstructed meaningful reforms to boost national savings. Occupational and national insurance reforms were opposed on spurious grounds including what would we do with the additional national savings.
Without the intervention of far-sighted politicians and outsiders, including Paul Keating and Bill Kelty, Australia would not have introduced our compulsory superannuation arrangements and assistance for voluntary superannuation, particularly for the self-employed.
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