Super Alert – 31 May 2019

31 May 2019

This week’s Super Alert covers recent speeches by ASIC Chair James Shipton, ATO guidance on implementation of the PYS legislation, a Federal Court case concerning superannuation contribution obligations, an update on the Federal ministry and some APRA statistics.

ASIC Chair speech

On 20 May 2019, ASIC issued a media release regarding speeches given by ASIC Chair, James Shipton, at the ASIC Annual Forum in Sydney in May 2019.

Among other things Mr Shipton spoke about the need for financial institutions to ’embrace and embed fairness into everything they do’. He also discussed ‘ASIC’s strategic change program’ and said that ASIC is ‘significantly increasing and accelerating court-based enforcement responses driven by [ASIC’s] new enforcement strategy.’ He also expanded on what was meant by ASIC’s ‘Why not litigate’ approach to enforcement.

Please click here to read more.

ATO guidance on ‘Protecting Your Super’ changes

On 24 May 2019, the ATO updated its guidance on the implementation of the changes introduced by the ‘Protecting Your Super’ legislation.

The ATO guidance is contained in a number of documents for superannuation fund trustees which were developed in consultation with the industry, and includes an updated Q&A document.

The ATO also updated its guidance for fund members on inactive low-balance accounts.

Please click here, here and here to read more.

Federal Court decision 

On 24 May 2019, the Full Federal Court handed down the decision of Bluescope Steel (AIS) Pty Ltd v Australian Workers’ Union [2019] FCAFC 84.

The case concerned superannuation contribution obligations in relation to ‘additional hours’ of work and pay in respect of public holidays in circumstances where some employees were paid an annualised salary and some were paid an aggregated salary.

On appeal, the majority decision of the Full Federal Court held that payments in respect of ‘additional hours’ or public holidays for the relevant employees did not constitute ‘ordinary time earnings’ for the purposes of the SG Act.

Allsop CJ held that the proper enquiry to determine ‘ordinary time earnings’ was to identify the hours set out in the industrial instrument to be paid for at ordinary rates instead of identifying what constituted ordinary hours of work under the industrial agreement. Accordingly, because in the relevant industrial awards being examined, ‘additional hours’ and public holidays were paid at higher rates than ordinary rates, they did not constitute ‘ordinary time earnings’ for the purposes of the SG Act.

Please click here to read more.

Federal ministry

On 29 May 2019, following the re-election of the Coalition government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Federal government’s new ministry.

Josh Frydenberg MP has been re-appointed as Treasurer and Senator Jane Hume has been appointed as the new Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology.

According to a recent media report, Josh Frydenberg has indicated that he will commission a review of the retirement income system, and will revisit some reform proposals which were left pending prior to the recent election. These include reforms relating to independent directors, opt-in life insurance within superannuation products and ‘stapling’ of default accounts to people entering the workforce.

Please click here and here to read more.

APRA releases latest superannuation statistics

On 29 May 2019, APRA released its Quarterly Superannuation Performance publication and the Quarterly MySuper Statistics report for the March 2019 quarter.

According to the related APRA media release, over the March 2019 quarter there was an increase of 5.3 percent in total superannuation assets.

Please click here to read more.

This alert was written by Natalie Cambrell, Partner, Damian Tarulli, Special Counsel and Sanela Osmanovic, Associate.​

Natalie Cambrell

P: +61 3 8644 3754


Damian Tarulli

P: +61 7 3169 4832


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