Unions NSW said the Turnbull government’s plans to cut the super of Australia’s lowest paid workers will further entrench growing inequality in society and mean more poverty for people in retirement.

The Turnbull government wants to allow low-income earners a way to ‘opt out’ of compulsory superannuation in a move that could potentially strip up to $63 a week from the super of the nation’s lowest paid, harming their ability to plan for retirement.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said inequality has been getting rapidly worse in Australia and this government seems determined to ensure it reaches crisis level in record time. 

“A Turnbull Government won’t be content until we have a US-style system, with privatised health care, zero penalty rates, a low minimum wage, minimal taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and no retirement benefits for the majority,” he said. 

“Malcolm Turnbull and his team have never believed that low-income earners deserve superannuation.

“An ideal super system in the eyes of Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison would be a simple and convenient tax avoidance for the rich only.

“Here we have a government slashing away at the pay rates of low income earners through attacks on penalty rates and the minimum wage, while simultaneously telling them they shouldn’t have super either. 

“Malcolm Turnbull thinks the best that millions of working Australians should possibly hope for is a retirement on the pension — which his government has cut,” Mr Morey said.

The union movement doesn’t believe this policy will do anything to help the nation’s lowest paid, the majority of whom are women, who are already struggling in retirement. 

How about we top up low income earners super instead of what we currently do which is top up high income earners super?” ACTU President Ged Kearney said.

“Or, let's push for a wage rise instead of cuts to penalty rates and make big corporations pay their taxes instead of giving them exemptions? 

“There are many solutions that would boost wages and taking away people's retirement savings is not one of them.” 

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