Why workers in more dangerous jobs need a different approach on Super

Nicholas McCallum

The Liberals are pushing changes that will affect your coverage. 

There’s been a lot of talk about superannuation in the media lately – and union involvement in it.

The truth is, unions fought hard to get superannuation for our members and over time, we’ve stayed involved to make sure that our members get what they need from superannuation: strong returns, services that work for them and insurance that covers their industry.

The Federal Government is now trying to change that.

New laws would stop our super fund Cbus providing automatic life insurance and TPD cover to members under 25 years old when they sign up, forcing them to fill out lengthy forms to apply. And they’ll remove cover for people who haven’t been paying super for 13 months or who have a super balance under $6,000.

The current system works well and covers people when they need it. When people sign up to our super fund, Cbus, eligible members get insurance automatically. It’s called a default scheme.

Using the buying power of our industry, our union (via our super fund Cbus) has been able to negotiate a good deal for employees and their families:

  • coverage of all occupations, including those working above 10 metres.
  • recognition that if you’re injured in construction, you might not be able to get another job elsewhere easily.
  • cover for suicide which we hope people will never have to use.
  • payouts on more claims than the average insurance policy. We know that people are using the insurance when they need to and get good coverage. Young people in our industry have families and even with active shop stewards and a good employer, hazards in construction are higher than other industries.

All those benefits are currently at risk. If these laws are passed:

  • Many workers won’t qualify for insurance or will have exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Insurance premiums will go up for all workers, because there will be fewer people covered and a more complicated scheme.
  • Coverage could become less generous and have more restrictions.

If the Government wants to make it fairer for people who they don’t think need insurance, they shouldn’t make it harder for people who do need the cover. People in more hazardous industries need a different approach.

You can tell your local MP to vote against this legislation by getting in touch with them by phone.

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