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Friday, May 05, 2006

Psst...changes to First State Super: maybe not a secret

One of the NSW state superannuation schemes, First State Super (FSS), from 1 May has become a private corporation apparently with the intention that contributors can remain in the scheme after they leave the public service. FSS is also open to others who wish to join.

This article “Psst…here’s a little super secret” is a pitch about the benefits of the new arrangements.

We couldn’t help noticing however that the legislation that brought about the changes in the structure of the scheme also included an amendment to the NSW FOI Act which appears to reflect the fact that from 1 May FSS is no longer subject to FOI. The First State Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Conversion) Act included Schedule 3 a provision that removed from Schedule 2 of the FOI Act documents concerning the investment functions of FSS. The debate in both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council on the Bill only lasted a few minutes. There were no references to this aspect of the legislation. You can access the details here.

We assume that the reason for amending Schedule 2 is that FSS in its new guise is no longer an agency for the purposes of the FOI Act.

Does it matter? Those 400,000 public employees who belong to the scheme are probably in a better position to judge.

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