Minister Rishworth interview on ABC AM with Sally Sara


Topics: Superannuation on Paid Parental Leave

SALLY SARA, HOST: The Federal Government has announced that it will pay 12 per cent superannuation on publicly funded parental leave, but it won't happen until after July next year. The Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth joined me earlier. Minister, how much of a difference do you think this will make to women's retirement incomes?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: At the moment we know women retire with 25 per cent less in their superannuation accounts than men do. And of course we want to see that gap narrow. This will have an impact on women's retirement. It will lead to women having thousands of dollars more in their superannuation account. It's not the silver bullet, it won't completely fix this gap, but it will go some way to reducing that income gap, because we know that women, when they take time out of the workforce, also with being paid less, that does lead to that difference in retirement savings.

SALLY SARA: This change is happening from July next year. Why not this year?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Obviously there's a number of things that need to be put in place. We need to get the legislation through the parliament, but indeed there's also changes that will need to be made to the ATO and Services Australia. So, this gives us enough time to implement, but at the same time, we don't want to wait too long. And that's why we've committed to the 1 July 2025 as the start date.

SALLY SARA: Will this apply to businesses across the board?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: This will apply to the Paid Parental Leave that the Government pays. And so for those women and men that qualify and are eligible for the government Paid Parental Leave, then they will receive the superannuation guarantee on top of that. And that will apply to anyone, any individual that receives the Paid Parental Leave scheme that the Government administers.

SALLY SARA: When we're looking at this paying superannuation on parental leave, how much will that cost the Government?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: The final details are coming in the Budget and the final costings will be in the Budget. Of course, we know that there are about 180,000 families, on average, that rely on Paid Parental Leave every single year. And by 1 July 2025, there will be a 12 per cent contribution. But the final details of the costings of this policy will be in the Budget.

SALLY SARA: Many older women are already dealing with this gap in retirement income. What measures are you putting in place for them, those who are already in this situation?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: We need to look across the board at how we better support women. And some of the changes that we made in the last Budget was those women that rely on JobSeeker, for example older women, we increased the higher rate of JobSeeker to extend down to people aged 55 and over. We also increased rent assistance. We know that many women in an older age group do rely on rent assistance. So, these are some of the measures we've taken, particularly for those women, older women that are facing economic hardship. But of course, one of the really key areas is to close the gender pay gap. If we're able to close the gender pay gap, then we will also see women retire with higher super balances.

SALLY SARA: Amanda Rishworth. Thank you.