14 Jul 2017by admin
News from Media Super and the super industry
New Unlisted Infrastructure investment option launched
This new investment option gives members direct access to both Australian and international unlisted infrastructure assets, such as investments in Melbourne and Brisbane airports, Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station and the Eastern Distributor (M1). Internationally, the investment currently includes Vienna Airport, Indiana Toll Road and Anglian Water in the UK.
$100m milestone for film and TV productions
Media Super’s investment in Australian film and television productions passed the $100 million milestone in November 2016. The investment was established with Fulcrum Media Finance in 2010 and since then we have funded more than 70 productions – helping to create opportunities for local talent – and achieved an average investment return of 6.7% (to 30 June 2017).
Super reforms passed by Parliament
On 23 November 2016, the Federal Government’s reform package of super tax changes successfully passed through both houses of Parliament, with minimal changes to those proposed in the May 2016 budget. Many of these changes took effect on 1 July 2017 and include reduced contribution caps, a lifetime transfer balance cap to pension accounts, and the low-income superannuation tax offset.
Age Pension asset test changes took effect
From 1 January 2017, changes to the Age Pension asset test threshold for both full and partial pensions came into effect. The Government increased the asset test threshold in order to qualify for a full aged pension, meaning the assets seniors can have and still receive the full pension has gone up. However, at the same time they increased the Age Pension asset test taper rate from $1.50 to $3 per $1000 of assets, which means pensioners may receive less money from the Government.
Fraser Review released
Former Reserve Bank Governor and Treasury Secretary, Bernie Fraser, delivered his report (requested by the AIST) into not-for-profit super fund governance, finding their processes and member-first ethos are central to their outperformance and avoidance of scandals affecting other parts of the finance sector.
The review also found the Government has not adequately made the case for a mandatory quota of independent directors, and members’ interests will be better served through a focus on directors’ values, skills and expertise. To this end Mr Fraser has recommended Australia’s not-for-profit superannuation funds prioritise values, skills and expertise in a mandatory principles-based governance code to commence on 1 July 2017.
Productivity Commission release draft report into superannuation
The Productivity Commission released a draft report that identified possible models to guide employees new to the superannuation system to preferred, simple default super products. The Productivity Commission sought submissions on the draft report and the final report will be handed to the Australian Government in August 2017.
$30m R&D fund launched
Media Super launched an innovative $30 million fund to help finance Australian research and development projects. The revolving fund will provide loans of up to $3m to companies and research institutions for projects eligible for an R&D tax credit under the Federal Research and Development Tax Incentive program.
Federal budget 2017
On 9 May 2017, the Turnbull Government handed down the 2017-18 Federal Budget. Measures to tackle home affordability were a part of this year’s Federal Budget, with two of these measures directly involving superannuation, including a newly announced First Home Super Saver Scheme and a scheme to facilitate downsizing among older people.