RIPPED OFF: Data shows thousands of Gladstone workers dudded
ONE of the country's biggest superannuation providers has reported nearly 7000 Gladstone workers are being robbed of their super entitlements each year.
Industry Super Australia has analysed Australian Tax Office data from 2016-17 and found young, low-income workers in blue-collar jobs are the most likely to be missing out on their legal entitlements.
Gladstone workers aren't the only people affected with the data showing more than 550,000 workers in Queensland are missing out on $1.1billion in unpaid super - the equivalent of close to $2000 in super payments each year.
These figures put Queensland as the third-worst state for unpaid super behind the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
Gladstone is one of the most affected areas in the Fitzroy region with 6780 workers missing out on $12.1million in super each year.
Nationally the report shows since the first ISA analysis of ATO data in 2013-14 the number of workers short-changed super has climbed by 90,000 to a total of 2.85million Australians being ripped off $5.94billion in super entitlements.
The analysis also showed almost one in two young adults earning under $30,000 per annum were underpaid superannuation and more than 43 per cent of labourers, machinery operators and drivers have collectively missed out on more than $800million making it to their super accounts in 2016-17.
In combining these risk factors it was revealed 75 per cent of Australians short-changed on their super contributions are aged under 35, earn under $30,000 or are in blue-collar jobs.
Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean called on local candidates to act on what he described as systematic exploitation.
"This should be a wake-up call for local candidates and members," Mr Dean said.
"This is daylight robbery and it cannot continue.
"Allowing employers to continue robbing workers in Gladstone of their super entitlement means these workers are going to end up worse off at retirement.
"While most employers do the right thing, unless we see action from the major parties this election, those dodgy employers are going to continue taking advantage of lax laws, a weak regulator and insufficient penalties to rip off these hardworking Australians."
Mr Dean said there was a simple fix the major parties could commit to this election that would solve the problem.
"The easiest way to end this exploitation and ensure workers in Gladstone are paid their super is to simply legislate that all employers must deposit money into a worker's super account at the same time as they deposit their salary into their bank account," Mr Dean said.
Flynn challenger Zac Beers said Labor was committed to putting a stop missing super.
"Not paying workers super is just one of the many ways big business has been able to get away with ripping off local workers under this LNP government," Mr Beers said.
"We'll give workers the right to sue their employer to recover unpaid super and will introduce hefty fines for businesses caught doing the wrong thing.
"We're doing this so that businesses can no longer take advantage of lax laws and weak penalties to get away with not paying their workers."
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said the government had taken steps to make sure workers receive their full superannuation entitlement.
"We have passed new laws increasing penalties for employers who do not meet their obligation to pay super on behalf of their staff, strengthened the enforcement powers of the ATO to recover unpaid super, and for the first time, introduced criminal penalties for employers who repeatedly fail to meet their obligations," Mr O'Dowd said.
"We have also provided an additional $20.9million to the ATO to establish a Super Guarantee Taskforce to target employers who do not pay super as required."