Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants
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Recent News

 

Change to TASS Banking Arrangements

 

The TASS Executive has decided to consolidate it's banking with the one organisation. We have opened accounts at MyState Bank.

For members who renew using direct deposit either online or at a branch, changes will be minimal. My State bank account details are:

My State BSB: 807 009

Account Number: 30137067

Account Name: Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants

Please note your initials and surname in the Reference or Description section when transferring money online. This allows us to allocate your payment quickly to your membership.

In Tasmania, MyState has branches at Glenorchy, Hobart, Kingston, Rosny, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.

For those who pay by cheque, there is no change: TASS remains the Payee.

If you have TASS's account details saved in your online banking address list, please ensure that you alter the details to those above.


 

New Executive for 2023-24

 

President

John Pauley

Vice President

Murray Harper

Secretary & Public Officer

John Chalmers

Treasurer

Mike Walker

Membership Officer

Charles Thomas

SuperNews Editor

Jeneane Thomas

Other Committee Members

Jean Walker

 

Stephen Graetzer

 

Ross Brown

Ross Butler

Chris Scott

 

Jeff Garsed


 

Spirit Super continues TASS' sponsorship for 2023

 

TASS is pleased to note the continued sponsorship of Spirit Super. Members have benefited from the articles provided by Spirt Super for the quarterly newsletter, Super News. They have been informative and interesting.

Many of our members are already familiar with Spirit Super having investment accounts.

CareSuper and Spirit Super are pleased to announce that they have entered into a binding agreement to merge the two funds. This comes after an extensive due diligence process, with the merger expected to be completed in late 2024. The agreement will create a combined fund with more than 500,000 members and almost $50 billion in funds under management.

The merger will take place in late 2024. Up until that time nothing changes for the members of both funds. They remain members of either CareSuper or Spirit Super with administration, investments and customer service managed by their respective fund. Likewise, staff at each fund continue to work to support their members.

CareSuper was established in 1986 and is today the super fund for life for people who value high performance and a smoother investment ride over the long term. CareSuper has around 220,000 members and $20 billion in funds under management.

Spirit Super was established in 2021 through the merger of Tasplan and the Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund. As the fund for hard-working Australians, with a focus on growing membership in regional Australia, Spirit Super has over 325,000 members and $25 billion in funds under management.


 

Southern Forum 25 July 2023

 

The Southern Forum was well attended by members and Kristy Meos from Advocacy Tasmania gave an insightful and informative talk regarding their activities and the support they can provide. Their contact details and further information is noted below.

Two off duty Paramedics from Ambulance Tasmania, Michael and Paul, gave a demonstration on the use of defibrillators which was well received. They encouraged those present to familiarise themselves with the location of defibrillators in areas/buildings they frequent.

Sometimes, we need a bit of extra support to enjoy all that life has to offer.

Your Say Advocacy Tasmania is here to help. We can assist you in selecting the right care services for your needs.

There are many ways to contact us:

Email: contact@yoursaytas.org

Freecall: 1800 005 131

Web: advocacytasmania.org.au


 

10% Cap Legislation Update

 

The following letter was sent on 3 November 2023 to the Commonwealth Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth seeking that members of the Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF) be excluded from the 10% Cap legislation. We are not giving up on our goal of removing the terrible impost this legislation has had on our members. Recent correspondence we received from Minister Rishworth provides a clear indication that members of the RBF scheme should be excluded from the 10% Cap legislation. To find out more have a read of our correspondence to the Minister.

The Hon Amanda Rishworth
Minister for Social Security
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

3 November 2023

Dear Minister Rishworth,

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Defined Benefits Income Scheme) Act 2015 (The 10% Cap Legislation)

I have recently been provided with copy of a letter you wrote to Senator Wendy Askew in relation to the above legislation on 10 February 2023. As you would no doubt be aware this legislation has never met the intended goal as stated by the then Minister for Social Security, Scott Morrison. That goal was to fix a loophole introduced with the superannuation changes from 2007 which had allegedly allowed some high income former public servants to access the age pension. Instead, this legislation has impacted particularly harshly on a large number of low income retirees in Tasmania who have experienced a significant decline in their total retirement income and their associated well being.

The Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants (TASS) has been seeking that this legislation be repealed since its enactment. The way it operates is extremely unfair and inequitable. Prior to the last election we gained support from your colleague Senator Carol Brown to raise our concerns with you. No doubt by now she has had the opportunity to discuss our concerns with you. For your information I have attached a copy of a briefing note we drafted for Senator Brown which provides you with more background on this legislation, why it is inequitable and unfair, and why it deserves to be repealed.

In your letter of 10 February you have stated:

The Better Super package had the unintended result of shifting a significant amount of employer funded contributions into the employee component for the purposes of calculating the deductible amount for some people. This reduced their assessable income, and in many cases significantly increased their level of income support, even though there was no change in their circumstances.

As a result you have concluded that:

The Tasmanian Retirement Benefits Fund has the characteristics of a defined benefit scheme. As such it is appropriate it is covered by this change.

Regrettably your reasons for concluding that the Tasmanian Retirement Benefits Fund should be covered by the 10% Cap legislation is based on a false premise. This premise is that members of the fund benefited from "the unintended result of shifting a significant amount of employer funded contributions into the employee component".

This has not been the case. In fact the exact opposite has occurred and members of the scheme have been harshly treated by the legislation as a result.

Advice provided to TASS by the Tasmanian Superannuation Commission specifically states that for the Tasmanian scheme there was no shifting of employer funded contributions, significant or otherwise, into the employee component as you have stated. The advice we have been provided with states "The 2007 taxation reforms consolidated 9 taxation components to 3 components. 5 of the 9 components were consolidated into the tax-free component as follows:

  1. Undeducted contributions (the members after tax contributions paid on or after 1 July 1983);
  2. Pre July 1983 component;
  3. Post 1994 invalidity component;
  4. CGT exempt component;
  5. Concessional component;

The Commission further stated that the "taxable component which is represented by the taxed and untaxed (if any) component continued in their present form".

Clearly, the Tasmanian scheme does not exhibit the characteristics upon which you have based your assessment that the scheme is covered by the 10% Cap legislation.

Members of the scheme did not have employer funded contributions shifted into the employee component. These components of the defined benefit pension provided under the scheme remain as taxed and untaxed components as clearly stated by the Commission. They have not been included within the tax free component.

Given that the 10% Cap legislation has impacted harshly on our members, and that your reasons for including the Tasmanian scheme within the coverage of this piece of legislation do not reflect the actions taken by the Tasmanian Superannuation Commission following the 2007 changes, I would request that you reconsider the position stated in your correspondence to Senator Askew.

Clearly, members of the Tasmanian scheme do not meet the assessment criteria for including a defined benefit superannuation scheme within the coverage of the Act and they should not have a 10% cap placed upon the amount they may offset under the income test when assessing their eligibility for the age pension.

Your letter to Senator Askew also states:

The 10 per cent cap on the deductible amount makes sure that contributions to a defined benefit income stream are assessed in line with other financial products such as account based income streams. It helps make sure the income support system provides a similar level of support to those with a similar amount of income and assets.

Given that a retiree who has taken out a life time income stream is able to offset 40% of that total income stream when assessing their eligibility for the age pension, I am also concerned that limiting the offset available to a defined benefit retiree to just 10% of their tax free component is not ensuring that the income support system provides a similar level of support to those with a similar level of income and assets. Clearly the recipient of a lifetime income stream is gaining a considerably greater benefit. This benefit includes not only improved access to the age pension as a result of the 40% offset, but also the tax exempt nature of a lifetime income stream. In contrast a defined benefit income stream is taxable.

I trust that you are able to reconsider your assessment of the Tasmanian Retirement Benefits Fund scheme in light of the clarifying information I have provided above and support that it be exempted from the 10% cap legislation.

Yours sincerely
John Pauley
President
Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants Inc.


 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
Reversionary Life Pension Provisional - Surviving Partner Pension Declaration Form (Declaration Form)

 

TASS has become aware of a Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF) requirement, made on 31 March 2022, which is summarised below and detailed in full on the RBF website. RBF Website or www.rbf.com.au

If the Superannuant's Defined Benefits Life Pension was not set up as a Reversionary Life Pension, their spouse is not entitled to a Surviving Spouse Pension on the death of the Superannuant and therefore completion of this "Declaration" form and the later mentioned "Application" form is not required. It is important for the Superannuant to check the status of the pension they are receiving with RBF if they are not sure.

It is very important where a Superannuant has a Reversionary Life Pension and a spouse, that the new Declaration Form is completed by the Superannuant and their spouse and submitted to RBF.

When this Declaration form is recorded by RBF it enables RBF, when notified of the death of the Superannuant, to consider continuing to pay the surviving spouse, two-thirds (2/3) of the deceased Superannuant's Defined Benefit (DB) pension on a fortnightly basis for a period of six (6) months.

Following notification of the Superannuant's death, the RBF will request the surviving spouse to complete an "Application to be Determined as the Surviving Partner" form (Application) (Surviving Partner Application form). The surviving spouse should complete this form and return it to RBF as soon as possible, as the RBF will only pay the interim 2/3 pension for a maximum period of six (6) months from the death of the Superannuant.

When the Application form is submitted to RBF, the surviving spouse will be sent documents which will include the following options:

If the Declaration form is not completed by the Superannuant prior to the Superannuant's death, the form is no longer required and payment of the two thirds (2/3) DB pension will not commence. The Application form must then be completed and approved by RBF before any payment can be made to the surviving spouse.

When completing the Declaration form, the Superannuant and spouse must provide RBF with proof of any of the following documents, joint residence with their spouse in the form of an account which notes both their names, for example, a recent Council Rates Notice, an Electricity Account, or a TasWater Account. Both will need to provide another form of identification, for example, current Drivers Licence, joint Bank Account, Private Health Fund and/or Medicare card showing both names. When submitting the form to RBF copies of all documents must be certified correctly or you can take the original documents to any RBF office and have a copy made and certified by an RBF Superannuation Officer who is authorised to certify documents. All original documents will be returned to you.

Do not send original documents by post.

If both partners are DB Superannuants, they must both complete an individual Declaration form and lodge it with RBF.

It is very important that the Surviving Spouse, on the death of the Superannuant, call the RBF Enquiry Line on 1800 622 631 to advise them and request all information required to continue payment of entitlements. RBF is there to assist and will mail documentation to the Surviving Spouse if that is preferred.

Useful links:

RBF Website - https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/retirement-benefits-fund

Declaration form - https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/Documents/RBF Form - Reversionary Life Pension Partner Declaration Form.pdf

Application form - Surviving Partner Application form - https://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/Documents/RBF Form - Application to be determined as a surviving partner (pensions).pdf


RBF Declaration Form

It is important to note that when providing documentation to the RBF in support of the Declaration form, ALL documents must be dated three months or less when submitted to and received by RBF.


The following applies to all members, regardless of their location:

If you are sending copies of all necessary documentation of proof, remember they must each be certified by a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner of Declarations. Do not send original documents. If you are meeting with an RBF Superannuation Consultant, they can certify documents at the time.


Assistance Completing the Declaration Form

Tasmanian Members:

If you wish to have a face-to-face appointment or require general assistance with an RBF Superannuation Consultant in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport or Burnie, please ring the RBF's Administrator (Link) enquiry line on 1800 622 631 to arrange a convenient time. Alternatively, you can call into the Hobart or Launceston Office for assistance.

Depending on your location and/or situation you can request a video conference with a Hobart RBF Superannuation Consultant by ringing the enquiry line 1800 622 631.

Hobart Office - Ground Floor, 21 Kirksway Place

Launceston Office - Level 3, Henty House, 1 Civic Square

Interstate Members:

For assistance regarding the Declaration form, you need to ring the RBF's Administrator (Link) enquiry line on 1800 622 631 for assistance, or to request a video conference with a Hobart RBF Superannuation Consultant.


 

TASS Forum Tuesday 18 October 2022

 

Residential Aged Care, Supported Accommodation

and Retirement Village Living

Time:  1.30pm to 3.30pm (including afternoon tea)

Venue: Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania (MYCT) 1 Ford Parade, Lindisfarne

If there is anything you wish to know about Residential Aged Care, Retirement Village Living or Supported living make sure you come along to this Forum.

We have a panel of expert presenters including a leading nursing home/retirement village CEO, Government agencies and the Council of the Ageing (COTA) who will be able to cover every aspect of aged care living and answer all your questions from what to expect to how much various options cost and much more.

Please RSVP to confirm your attendance by Tuesday 11 October to John Chalmers, 0448 731 845 or by email to info@tass.org.au.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 18 October, please mark it on your calendar now!

We are planning to hold a Northern Forum on the same topic on Tuesday 15 November. Further details will be circulated as soon as arrangements have been finalised.


 

Welcome to Spirit Super

TASS is pleased to welcome Spirit Super as our first sponsor. The Spirit Super logo will appear in Super News and on our website and they will also provide editorial content on matters of interest.

Many of our members are already familiar with Spirit Super having investment accounts.

In 2017, the Tasmanian Government made major changes to the public sector superannuation fund RBF that included transferring members with accumulation accounts to Tasplan Super.

On the 1st April last year, Tasplan Super merged with MTAA Super to become Sprit Super.

Spirit Super remains based in Hobart with more than 200 local employees, a great example of keeping jobs in Tasmania. Spirit Super is still proudly Tasmanian.

This sponsorship will help us better promote and support TASS membership and make us stronger.


“10% Cap” Legislation Campaign Update

TASS Executive members met with Sen. Carol Brown on 21 April to discuss the 10% Cap Issue and what the Labor party could or would do in relation to a potential review of the legislation as suggested by Sen. Eric Abetz as part of his ongoing support.

Sen. Brown is individually supportive of TASS’ position, but bound by Labor processes. She gave a commitment to take the issue to the Tasmanian Labor caucus members, and then, with their support, to the broader caucus and then into parliament for action.

The Greens have told TASS that they support a Senate inquiry in principle, and that if there is any indication that a new Labor government would seek to legislate changes, then a Senate inquiry into such legislation would be the most pertinent avenue to inquire into this issue.

Senator Jacqui Lambie has previously indicated support for TASS in doing whatever she can to assist. Andrew Wilkie MP has been steadfast in his support for TASS’ campaign to have this inequitable and unfair legislation repealed.

We have also had undertakings of support from some minor party candidates from United Australia Party and One Nation.

What we haven’t got is a commitment from the Liberal Party for at least a review. They are continuing to run the line that the Act is doing what was always intended and won’t be changed.

We will continue to try to convince them that a review is the only sensible course of action at this stage.

John Minchin

President


TASS Forum - “All you wish to know about Residential Aged Care and Retirement Village living”.

The planned  Forum scheduled for Tuesday 17 May 2022 in Hobart has been postponed until later this year.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We will publicise the new arrangements in Super News in due course.


New Executive for 2022

At the AGM on 15th March, the following members were elected to the Executive. We welcome Ross Butler to the Executive for 2022

President

John Minchin

Vice President

John Pauley

Secretary & Public Officer

John Chalmers

Treasurer

Mike Walker

Membership Officer

Charles Thomas

Newsletter Editor

Jeneane Thomas

Executive Members

Ross Brown

 

Murray Harper

 

Stephen Graetzer

Chris Bevan

Jean Walker

 

Ross Butler


TASS AGM Tuesday 15 March

Guest Speaker

We are pleased to advise the guest speaker for the TASS Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 15 March is Professor James Vickers.  

Professor James Vickers is the Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.  This Centre is at the forefront of research and support for issues confronting people with dementia and their carers. Its projects are being carried out in Tasmania and nationally, across research fields such as neuroscience, medicine, nursing, psychology and sociology, health, economics and policy.

The Wicking Centre is a flagship of the University’s College of Health and Medicine and was established in 2008.  

The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (WDREC) is unique in Australia as an integrated dementia centre that is active across a range of disciplines, seeking to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. The WDREC aims to:

Professor Vickers’ talk will cover the work being undertaken at the Centre and how its work is of benefit to older Tasmanians.  His address is sure to be of interest to all who are able to attend.

Kind regards

John Minchin

President

Link to Professor Vicker's profile


TASS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Venue: Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania (MYCT), 1 Ford Parade, Lindisfarne

(Access from East Derwent Highway, via Lincoln Street and Park Road) Parking is available at the MYCT or on the street

Time: 1:30 to 3:00pm (including afternoon tea)

Guest Speaker: Professor James Vickers, Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre

RSVP: By 5:00pm Thurs 10 March 2022 to John Chalmers, 0448 731 845, or info@tass.org.au

 


Concessions and Rebates for Older Tasmanians

The Tasmanian Government currently offers a range of concessions and rebates to older Tasmanians (those on pensions, or with low and fixed incomes). These cover such items as electricity, council rates, water and sewerage, stamp duty discount, vehicle registration and taxes, licences and many others.

TASS has written to the Premier requesting confirmation that, if successful in the upcoming State Election, his Government will continue to provide these concessions and rebates into the future, and in particular that they will be included in the upcoming 2021-22 State Budget.

TASS also wrote to the Opposition and Greens asking that, if successful in the upcoming State Election, they will support the continued provision these concessions and rebates into the future, and in particular that they will be included in the upcoming 2021-22 State Budget.

TASS also stated that it believes that these concessions and rebates should be indexed to reflect the change in the costs of the underlying services being supported. The costs of these services are increasing faster than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and in order to maintain the benefits of the concessions and rebates, an appropriate index needs to be developed by Treasury, in consultation with key stakeholder organisations such as TASS.

Our members are encouraged to contact their local candidates to reinforce our position on these concessions and rebates.

April 2021


Executive Committee 2021

At the AGM in March 2021, the following Executive members were elected.

President: John Minchin

Vice-President: John Pauley

Secretary: John Chalmers

Treasurer: Michael Walker

Membership Officer: Charles Thomas

Super-News Editor: Jeneane Thomas

Exec members: Christopher Bevan, Ross Brown, Stephen Graetzer, Murray Harper, Jean Walker.

 

There remains one vacancy on the Executive. Please contact John Chalmers, Secretary, if you are interested in being considered for that position - Email secretary@tass.org.au, or Phone 62491240 or 0409491245


 

Superannuation issues

TASS has recently raised its concerns about some superannuation issues with the Premier. These relate to changes to the Superannuation Commision structure, and to the planned use of $200M from RBF for COVID recovery projects. The linked article from the Examiner deals with these matters.

https://www.cpsu.com.au/2020/10/public-sector-super-worry/


Change To TASS Banking Arrangements


The TASS Executive has decided to consolidate it's banking with the one organisation. We have opened accounts at MyState Bank.

For members who renew using direct deposit either online or at a branch, changes will be minimal. The Bendigo Bank account that you have been depositing into will be replaced by:


MyState Account BSB: 807-009
Account Number: 30137067
Account Name: Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants.


In Tasmania, MyState has branches at Glenorchy, Hobart, Kingston, New Town, Rosny, Kings Meadows, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.

For those who pay by cheque, there is no change: TASS remains the Payee.


If you have TASS’s account details saved in your online banking address list, please ensure that you alter the details to those above.

The online membership forms will be updated with this new information in the near future