Australian government funds – also known as public sector funds – are superannuation funds set up for employees working in the public sector, such as employees of Australia's state or federal governments.
While there are a dizzying array of superannuation funds available to Australians, public sector employees often have an easier time than most of us when it comes to choosing a super fund, because it may have already been done for them. Some government super funds offer defined-benefit funds and constitutionally-protected funds to their members. For this reason, some public sector funds are not available to non-government employees.
However, just because you’re a state or federal government employee doesn’t mean you’re obliged to invest your retirement savings in a public sector or government fund. The federal government changed superannuation laws in 2005, giving Australian employees the choice of what fund their employer's superannuation guarantee contributions were paid into.
Additionally, many government super funds have opened up to all Australians, so even if you're not a government worker, you can still potentially benefit from a public sector super account to enjoy a more comfortable retirement, with less reliance on an age pension.
Before you consider switching to or from a government superannuation fund, it's important to read the product disclosure statement (PDS) and consider your financial situation and personal goals.