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Showing superannuation funds based on investment performance of
and a super balance of
Past 5-year return
8.45

% p.a

FYTD return

2.80

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$659

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Gold 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site

MySuper Balanced

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Past 5-year return
8.58

% p.a

FYTD return

2.71

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$545

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Gold 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site

Balanced

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Past 5-year return
New

% p.a

FYTD return

-

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$530

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Other 2021 MyChoice Super
Go to site

Growth

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Past 5-year return
New

% p.a

FYTD return

3.07

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$301

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super10 Yr Platinum Performance 2011-2021
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
7.86

% p.a

FYTD return

2.72

% p.a

Company
Calc fees on 50k

$512

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
SuperRatings Platinum 2021 MyChoice Super10 Yr Platinum Performance 2011-2021
Go to site

Growth

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What are government superannuation funds?

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.

What are the features of government super funds?

  • Employers may contribute more than the 10 per cent minimum each financial year
  • Often there’s a limited range of investment options
  • Long-term members may have defined benefits, whereas newer members are usually in an accumulation fund
  • They may offer lower fees, and some offer MySuper accounts
  • Profits are put back into the fund for the benefit of all members

Who benefits from government funds?

State and federal employees often benefit the most from government funds, because these superannuation funds have been designed to accommodate their salary and wage structures. Some government super funds have also opened their membership up to the Australian public, allowing workers in other industries to benefit from some of the fund's features.

Government and/or public sector funds offer members a tax-effective investment structure designed to assist public sector employees to maximise their superannuation investment. They operate under a similar premise to industry super funds in that they are not-for-profit entities. So there are no commissions paid, and all net investment returns are passed on to members.

Most superannuation funds available to public sector workers will also provide a salary sacrifice option as well as varying levels of death and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance.

In some cases, government and/or public sector funds allow members to create an account for their partner.

What is the government's super contribution?

Whether you’re a government employee or not, your employer is required to pay a percentage of your wage or salary into your nominated superannuation fund each financial year – this is the Super Guarantee (SG). As of July 2021, the SG rate is 10 per cent, and is scheduled to increase each year until it reaches 12 per cent in July 2025.

The SG is intended to help ensure that Australians save enough in their super funds over their careers to help cover the cost of their retirement in the future, and enjoy a more comfortable retirement income.

Keep in mind that if you’re self-employed or a sole trader, you aren’t required to pay yourself SG, though you may still choose to make personal super contributions.

Does the government match your super contributions?

As well as the money that’s automatically paid into your super fund through the SG, it’s possible to voluntarily make extra super payments.

You can make these voluntary contributions out of your own money (e.g. your post-tax salary in your bank account, plus money from other sources), or you can make a salary sacrifice arrangement where part of your pre-tax income is paid by your employer straight into your super fund, in excess of the SG.

As an incentive to encourage Australians to make voluntary super contributions, the government may partially match these contributions. These super co-contributions can help you save up a retirement nest egg more quickly.

Voluntary super contributions may have other benefits beyond helping build your retirement savings. For example, there may be tax benefits to putting extra into your super, such as being able to claim some of your personal super contributions as tax deductions. Also, the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme allows first home buyers to withdraw some of their personal super contributions from their super fund to help pay or a deposit on their first home loan.

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How much does the government match in super?

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO):

“If you're a low or middle-income earner and make personal (after-tax) contributions to your super fund, the government may also make a contribution (called a co-contribution) up to a maximum amount of $500.”

All you need to do to receive government co-contributions is make personal contributions to your super fund – the government (via the ATO) will handle the rest, paying the money directly into your super fund after you lodge your tax return.

To qualify for government co-contributions, you’ll need to earn less than a maximum income threshold. Each financial year you make a personal super contribution of up to $1000, the government will make a co-contribution of up to $500. This amount may be affected by the size of your voluntary contribution and your income.

Are super funds government guaranteed?

You may have heard about the government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), which guarantees money deposited with an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI). Under the scheme, up to $250,000 per person per ADI is guaranteed by the government, whether it is held in a savings account or a term deposit.

While super funds function a lot like savings accounts, and some super funds are operated by ADIs, the FCS may not apply in quite the same way as for an individual’s deposited savings.

According to APRA, firstly, the FCS protection only applies to the cash deposit component of a super fund, and not for any other investments. Secondly, because the $250,000 limit of the FCS will apply across the whole super fund, only a small percentage of an individual’s super may be covered by the FCS (though a Self-Managed Super fund or SMSF may have different eligibility requirements).

What are government co-contributions?

A government co-contribution is a bonus payment from the federal government into your superannuation account – but it comes with conditions. First, the government will only make a co-contribution if you make a personal contribution. Second, the government will only contribute a maximum of $500. Third, the government will only make co-contributions for people on low and medium incomes. The Australian Taxation Office will calculation whether you’re entitled to a government co-contribution when you lodge your tax return. The size of any co-contribution depends on the size of your personal contribution and income.

What is a superannuation fund?

A superannuation fund is an institution that is legally allowed to hold and invest your superannuation. There are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia. They come in five different types:

  • Retail funds
  • Industry funds
  • Public sector funds
  • Corporate funds
  • Self-managed super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies.

Industry funds were originally designed for workers from a particular industry, but are now open to anyone.

Public sector funds were originally designed for people working for federal or state government departments. Most are still reserved for government employees.

Corporate funds are arranged by employers for their employees.

Self-managed super funds are private superannuation funds that allow people to directly invest their money.

Can I buy a house with my superannuation?

First home buyers are the only people who can use their superannuation to buy a property. The federal government has created the First Home Super Saver Scheme to help first home buyers save for a deposit. First home buyers can make voluntary contributions of up to $15,000 per year, and $30,000 in total, to their superannuation account. These contributions are taxed at 15 per cent, along with deemed earnings. Withdrawals are taxed at marginal tax rates minus a tax offset of 30 percentage points.

Voluntary contributions to the First Home Super Saver Scheme are not exempt from the $25,000 annual limit on concessional contributions. So if you pay $15,000 per year into the First Home Super Saver Scheme, you have to make sure that you don’t receive more than $10,000 in superannuation payments from your employer and any salary sacrificing.

How do you create a superannuation account?

Before you create a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

How do you set up superannuation?

Before you set up a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.