Saturday, 6 April 2013

They are still arguing

about what sort of trees to put in the square in the centre of the city. Whatever they put there someone will complain about it. People are now suggesting that they should not plant plane trees because some people are allergic to them and that American oaks should not be considered because they are hard to find. 
As we already have many plane trees in other places around the city I doubt the allergy issues are as grave as they make out and if the oaks are hard to find then they need to look a little harder. Jacarandas? Well yes they are messy at times and they would require cleaning up at regular intervals. Moreton Bay figs? Well yes, they do damage to footpaths - if they are planted too close. 
Remember those lemon scented gums though? They can drop entire limbs which is surely a good deal more life threatening. Oh and they make a mess that needs cleaning up too. 
I wonder what they will decide. It will not please everyone. That square has been designed and re-designed over and over again.
It seems out superannuation system is being designed and redesigned again too. We all know the government is desperately trying to find money anywhere it can. Australia is supposed to have weathered the financial crisis very nicely. The Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, actually got voted "World's Best Treasurer" by some mob somewhere. I am puzzled by that. All he did was drag the country deep into debt, a debt that will take generations to pay off.  That is what accounts for the raid on the superannuation funds. Those funds are what the government has been demanding people pay into to save for their own futures so that they will not be as dependent on the pension. Now the government wants to raid it for present expenses. 
Oh yes, the usual claim that it will only hit a very small number of "fabulously wealthy" people...and then you start to read the fine print and consider the implications for everyone. Yes, it will affect everyone - and not in a positive way. 
People have been investing in superannuation because it pays them to do so. They have already paid tax (albeit at a lower rate) once. The government benefits from having the money in superannuation because it gets invested and that means jobs and more people paying tax. Yes, you can see where I am going. If people start to withdraw money from superannuation funds and invest it in ways which minimise their tax bills (and they will find ways to do this and then do it) then there will be less invested and returns will be lower and... need I go on?
I have a tiny (and yes it is tiny) amount invested in a superannuation fund. It is meant to be there for emergency funds should I need it. I put it there on financial advice. It was good advice at the time. I do not doubt that. I imagine many other people have done the same thing.
The government is changing the rules mid-stream - again. It is the same as the way they have been playing with the square in the centre of the city. The government needs to decide how it wants things laid out and what sort of nest eggs or trees they want people to grow - and then let them get on with it so that eggs or trees can actually grow. That way everyone gets protected.


Frances said...

You know Cat, from where I am financially, someone on an annual retirement income of $100000 does sound wealthy.
Even "fabulously wealthy", because I simply can't imagine that kind of income.

Helen Devries said...

French governments, of whatever hue, are experts at retroactive legislation which makes a mockery of peoples' attempts to provide for their future.

catdownunder said...

It sounds amazingly wealthy to me too Frances but I don't think that's the point. This hits super - not assets. If people withdraw from super and put it into say, real estate then small super investors are going to get hit with lower returns because there will be less money to invest. It's one of those ideas that government simply has either not thought through to the logical conclusions or - more likely - a desperate short term measure to prop up the May Budget and thus votes.

catdownunder said...

Ah, the French Helen - they have their own unique way of doing things!