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"Solid gold" super bonus for Lotto staff must go

The Lotteries Commission provides its staff with what must be the most generous superannuation scheme in the country, the Green Party has revealed.

Unlike most Superannuation schemes, Lotteries staff don't have to contribute a single dollar in order to collect a superannuation bonus amounting to 10 per cent (net of tax) of their salary.

On top of that, the Commission pays all the administration costs for the scheme. This information was contained in Audit Office management reports marked "confidential, sensitive information. Not available for public release", obtained by Green Party co-leader Rod Donald under the Official Information Act.

"We fully support employers subsidising staff superannuation contributions but the Lotteries super scheme is grossly extravagant and totally out of kilter with the superannuation packages available to every other public servant," Mr Donald said.

"It is outrageous that those people who buy lotto tickets because they can't afford to contribute to a superannuation scheme are in effect subsidising the Lotteries staff's scheme by paying all its running costs, including accounting and legal fees and the printing of its annual report."

The Lotteries Commission has said that its extraordinarily generous scheme is "part of the culture here" and "we certainly wouldn't change that winning formula" (Future Focus, Issue 9, August 1999 - a publication from the Office of the Retirement Commissioner).

"I have news for them," Mr Donald said. "In the same way that it was inappropriate for commission members and staff to take their spouses on overseas trips at commission expense and to collect business airpoints for private use and to pay excessive remuneration to their chief executive, this super scheme has to be changed.

"Like other schemes, it should require staff to make a defined contribution before receiving any subsidy. The members of the scheme should pay their own administration costs rather than costs coming from money that the commission should be distributing to community and welfare organisations.

"I am particularly concerned that the Commission has dismissed an Audit Office opinion that the current policy of meeting the costs should be reviewed.

"Before National ministers leap to the commission's defence they should consider the cost implications of providing an equivalent solid gold super scheme to every other public sector employee."

The Lotteries super scheme again highlights the lack of scrutiny of crown entities and the need for greater control of organisations that are meant to work in the public interest, Mr Donald said.


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