In 2016, CSRI convened two policy roundtables in collaboration with the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. The overarching goal was to develop policies to improve the efficiency of the retirement income system and the use of superannuation balances and in so doing to relieve pressure on the Australian budget and improve living standards in retirement.
The Australian retirement income system has evolved over the past 40 years to be a reasonably sound and robust system. It features three pillars that complement each other: the aged pension; compulsory superannuation; and voluntary savings. Generally, the level of aged poverty is low and retired people are enjoying an increased level of financial security than previous generations as more and more people have mature superannuation balances.
There is however, plenty of room for improvement. CSRI is committed to improving the adequacy and sustainability of retirement incomes for all Australians. To this end, a Roundtable held in April 2016 dealt with retirement income adequacy including interrelationships with aged care and housing. The Retirement Income Adequacy Roundtable explored:
- Alternative formulations of the objectives of the retirement income system including aged pension and superannuation systems;
- Measures and long term projections of retirement income adequacy in Australia based on current and alternative policy settings;
- The adequacy of the age pension and related payments (including indexation arrangements);
- Adequacy of income maintenance drawing from accumulated superannuation savings and any age pension entitlement;
- Whether those with different employment histories and varying personal circumstances have access to adequate retirement incomes;
- Interaction of retirement income system with other elements of the welfare system including health, aged care, rental housing and public housing.
The roundtables’ outcomes will contribute to the development of a series of position papers that in turn will be subjected to debate and scrutiny at the CSRI Leadership Forum later in 2016. The aim is to build a broad coalition of support for a holistic reform agenda for the Australian retirement income system.