'Underpaid' Rockhampton workers miss out on millions

IT'S OFFICIAL, Central Queenslanders are being ripped off when it comes to their superannuation bank balances with the region being titled the third worst place in the state for workers missing out on their entitlements.

The shocking news comes as Industry Super Australia and Cbus estimate that 38% of local workers are missing out on some or all of their super entitlements.

Using official tax office and Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the 2013-2014 financial year, they claim more than one third of eligible workers, some 32,000 people living in Rockhampton, Gladstone, and the Central Highlands, are being short-changed on their super payments by an average of more than $1,900 a year.

RIP OLD RIP OFF: Workers are being shortchanged thousands of dollars.
RIP OLD RIP OFF: Workers are being shortchanged thousands of dollars. Tom Huntley

But Central Queensland is not at the top of the list, with Mackay coming in as the worst place in Queensland with 39% of people eligible for superannuation being underpaid.

Industry Super Australia's Director of Public Affairs Matt Linden said Central Queensland's rates of unpaid superannuation was higher than the national average.

"We can see almost 40% of people who are eligible for superannuation guarantee appear to have not received their entitlement, which is higher than the national average of 30%," Mr Linden said.

"We can also see the average amount of unpaid super is higher than the national average.

"The average for Central Queensland is $1911 average and that compares to the national average of $1489.

"There are 32, 397 people in the region who are underpaid and the total amount is $61.9 million in unpaid super."

Mr Linden said it was difficult to break down the reasons of why the region was one of the worst places, but said it could have something to do with the nature of the industries.

"It may well be because of the nature of some of the industries in the region, sometimes it is when there is more part time and casual work," Mr Linden said.

"There seems to be higher incidents in particular in primary industries and tourism there seems to be a lot more part time and casual work that could be an explanation.

In Queensland we can see that Central Queensland is the third highest with Mackay being the worst with 39% and Darling Downs is close on 38.2% in second place."

Mr Linden said there were a few things that could bring the region's number down in future years but that it came down to changing the laws around superannuation.

"There's a few things that can get the number down but we really think some of the laws need to change around super.," he said.

"The existing law only requires employers to pay into their employees accounts per quarter, which is every three months so very often employees see that little figure on their pay slips that looks as though some payment has been put into the super but employers are not depositing that into their employee's accounts at the times they should be."

Last week, the Senate referred an inquiry into the Superannuation Guarantee to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 22 March 2017.

If you think you've been underpaid, contact your superfund for advice.

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