June 2016

Welcome to our Winter edition of EmployerNews. As we are almost at the end of financial year, we've included some articles to help you and your employees prepare.

Understanding Budget changes

On Tuesday 3 May 2016, the Australian Government released its 2016 Budget.

In contrast to recent Budgets, this year’s contains a number of broad-reaching measures that will impact most Australians in some way.

It’s important to understand that until passed through the Senate and legislated, all Budget measures remain proposed. And while the opposition has expressed support for some of the measures, they have also raised concerns about applying legislation retrospectively.

Key reforms that could impact you and your employees from a super and payroll perspective are outlined below.

  • 1 July 2017 could see a lowering of the annual concessional contributions cap for all ages to $25,000. Anyone with less than $500,000 in super can bring forward unused concessional contributions under the cap for up to 5 years.
  • If passed, a broader range of people under age 75 could claim an income-tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions (this could include councillors). Amounts contributed under this rule will count towards the concessional contributions cap and be taxed at 15%. 
  • From 1 July 2017, a lower income threshold of $250,000 will apply to the 30% contributions tax rate for higher income earners. 
  • Effective from 7.30pm 3 May 2016, a $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions was also announced. All non-concessional contributions made since 1 July 2007 are included. Anyone who has already exceeded the cap can keep the excess in their super accounts. 

To find out more read the full article from our website.

Have you met Ben?

Meet LGIAsuper’s Relationship Manager Ben Moles

Born and bred in Brisbane, our Senior Relationship Manager Ben Moles started with LGIAsuper just over 3 months ago and in that time he’s already achieved a lot. He’s visited many locations including Ingham, Ayr, Longreach and the Cassowary Coast and has frequented Townsville to support our partnership with the North Queensland Cowboys.

We caught up with Ben to see what he’s been up to since joining LGIAsuper.

What have you focussed on in the last 3 months since starting in your role with LGIAsuper?

I’ve been travelling across Queensland to introduce myself to key people in local government councils and shires. Every council has different needs so I make an effort to find out where LGIAsuper can help; whether that is through delivery of financial education programs, facilitating access to workplace superannuation or financial advice or helping with technical superannuation questions. Also, if there are changes within a council, such as redundancies, that’s where LGIAsuper can help.

I have also spent some time getting to know the industry associations involved with local government and they have been a great assistance to me in terms of understanding the valuable role performed by local government.

What is your favourite part of working with LGIAsuper?

Definitely meeting new people and making new connections. Everyone I’ve met has been really welcoming, helpful and easy to speak with; it makes my role a lot easier.

Are there any challenges you see for our local government employers?

The ageing of the workforce is probably a common challenge for many employers. Not only in our councils but Australia-wide there is now a greater portion of the workforce which are at, or are reaching, an age where they may be considering retirement. We are working with a number of councils to roll out programs that assist with educating and supporting employees as they commence planning for a successful transition to retirement. 

How can our employers benefit from a workplace visit?

LGIAsuper workplace visits are a great employee benefit. We educate employees about superannuation and retirement and help them make smarter financial decisions. Being educated makes for happier staff and they are more engaged in their workplace, which is a real benefit to employers.

You’ve been doing lots of travel, are there any standout stories you want to talk about?

I recently had the pleasure of presenting the annual LGMAQ Above and Beyond Award to a Queensland local government employee who has gone 'above and beyond' to provide a service to their local council or community. Lincoln Bertoli won the award for his inspirational work researching, writing and distributing his children’s book 'The Day Marcia Came to Town’, which tells how Cyclone Marcia devastated areas across the Livingstone Shire. Lincoln went above and beyond in his own time to research the hardest hit localities, apply for government financial support to print copies of the book; and distribute them to children at the 13 schools impacted by the disaster. This is a great example of how local government plays an essential role in the lives of Queenslanders every day and at LGIAsuper we are all proud of our long partnership with local government in Queensland.

What are your plans over the next 12 months?

My goal is to continue meeting people and building a strong network across local government in Queensland. In a way it is my job to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to LGIAsuper supporting local government employers, and their employees, with all their superannuation, financial planning and financial education needs.

There are also plenty of proposed changes to super, so if they are legislated, I will be working hard to make sure employers, and their employees, understand how the changes may impact them.

Actuarial review certificate

Actuarial certificates are required under superannuation and taxation legislation to satisfy certain requirements of a defined benefit fund.

LGIAsuper has two defined benefit type funds where benefits are defined by salary and period of membership. Both are closed to new members. They are:

  • Regional Defined Benefits Fund (Regional DBF)
  • City Defined Benefits Fund (City DBF)

Why is an actuarial review needed?

A regular actuarial review is necessary to:

  • examine the sufficiency of each DBF’s assets in relation to members’ accrued benefit
  • determine the recommended employer contribution rate required to ensure each DBF maintains a satisfactory financial position
  • examine the suitability of the insurance and investment arrangements
  • satisfy Clause 46 of the Trust Deed
  • meet legislative and prudential standard requirements, in particular paragraph 23 of Prudential Standard 160 Defined Benefit Matters (“SPS160”).

Our actuarial certificate is effective from is 1 July 2015.

See our website to download the Actuarial review certificate.

Thanks for complying with SuperStream!

All large and medium sized LGIAsuper local government employers were required to comply with the Australian Government’s SuperStream data and payment standards from 31 October 2015.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allowed LGIAsuper employers who were already submitting contributions electronically through our employer online system, to sign an agreement with us to continue to submit data in the alternate format. The contribution format was changed and our system was amended to include payment reference and tax file number fields. 

All our Queensland local government employers have signed an agreement with LGIAsuper to comply with the new requirements and we’d like to thank everyone for their efforts during the lengthy process.

Not sure what SuperStream is?

SuperStream is one of the packages of reforms introduced under the Australian Government’s Stronger Super legislation and regulations.

It aims to streamline the contributions process for you and your employees through measures to:

  • implement the new data and e commerce standards for superannuation transactions
  • allow the use of tax file numbers (TFNs) as the primary locator of member accounts
  • facilitate account consolidation and improve the treatment of contributions made without sufficient member details
  • establish an advisory governance body to oversee on the implementation and maintenance of the standards.

These measures will ultimately provide better information about the amount and timing of superannuation payments to employees and notification from funds to members on whether contributions have been received or not.

To find out more, see the ATO site.

This EmployerNews has been produced by the Queensland Local Government Superannuation Board (ABN 94 085 088 484 AFSL 230511) on behalf of the Queensland Local Government Superannuation Scheme (ABN 23 053 121 564). The information in EmployerNews is up to date at the time of publishing. Some of the information may change following its release. Any questions may be referred to LGIAsuper by calling 1800 444 369 or emailing us at info@lgiasuper.com.au.