Curtis Pitt’s latest proposed changes to the way some government employees pension payments are calculated appears to make perfect sense; despite Opposition claims of a “smash and grab”.
The relevant section in the proposed Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (available here) comes in Part 8 – Clause 68 which allows the Treasurer, on advise from actuaries, to change the multiplier used to calculate a defined benefit pension where an annual salary has increased due to “unremunerative” elements (i.e. increases caused by allowances rather than salary). However, any change “does not otherwise affect the member’s benefits in the standard defined benefit category at the annual review date.”
While I have no doubt that there may well be public servants who could see an opportunity lose in their pension benefits because of this amendment it also appears that the proposed change is in line with a reasonable expectation of a defined benefit scheme that it provide a pension benefit based on the earned remuneration of the retiree. Blocking changes to a public sector pension scheme that could be providing overly generous payouts to a few would appear to be an odd battle for the Opposition to wage.