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Super merger: unions, scheme members not consulted
YESTERDAY the Treasurer Peter Gutwein announced the government’s support for the creation of a single superannuation fund responsible for the combined accounts of TasPlan, Quadrant and the RBF Accumulation Scheme. The aim is for the new fund to be operating by the end of 2016.
The Treasurer also announced that the government intended to conduct an open tender process to secure a provider to administer the RBF Defined Benefits Scheme. The Treasurer sought to allay concerns about the future of the RBF Defined Benefits Scheme saying that regardless of the outcome of the tender process there’d be no change in the design of the RBF Defined Benefit Scheme or in the entitlements of members. The Tasmanian Government remains responsible for funding the Defined Benefits Scheme.
Sadly the union isn’t in a position to provide much more information to Members about this important change because both unions and RBF fund members were completely frozen out of the process for determining the future of RBF. Under the previous government we were consulted at every stage but since Treasurer Peter Gutwein took charge of the process, the flow of information ceased. Given the Treasurer and the Cabinet were making decisions about the future superannuation fund manager of existing RBF members it doesn’t seem unreasonable for them or their representatives be involved.
The media statements released yesterday made much of the potential advantages to the Tasmanian community of a large, merged superannuation entity. While that is positive, there’s nothing being said about the issues that are key to RBF Accumulation fund members – rates of return, investment and insurance options and service levels. After all – it’s these things that are key for those who have their retirement savings in RBF. Obviously that level of detail couldn’t be put out before merger discussions have even begun but members can be assured the CPSU will be taking every chance to ensure those issues are front and centre as this process proceeds.
Spare a thought today for the staff at RBF. They have already been through three years of change and uncertainty and it’s looking like 18 months more on the horizon. There are some positive statements about future job prospects in the merged entity here in Tasmania but nothing firm at this stage. One of the early review reports released by the previous government suggested a ‘trimmed down’ RBF might need to be retained to manage the Defined Benefit Scheme. It’s not clear why the Hodgman government rejected this proposal in favour of an open tender process, and this adds further to the uncertainty for RBF staff.
Treasurer Gutwein contacted the union after the public announcement to offer a briefing at some stage next week. We will take him up on that offer and will keep Members updated should this reveal further information.