Accounting for a super mystery

by David Richardson

We’ve all heard that the Australian Public Service’s superannuation schemes are generous, and a look at the budget papers would seem to confirm this, revealing that the Government is spending $14.1 billion on this entitlement. Put another way, public servants’ super appears to be a staggering 73 per cent of the $19.2 billion spent on wages and salaries. And, despite this large expenditure, there is still a massive $134 billion “unfunded superannuation liability” also recorded in the budget papers. So, clearly the public service scheme is good, but is it really that good? Somehow the figures don’t quite gel. A closer look at this entitlement raises a number of awkward questions.

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