Australia: Stronger Super – SuperStream

Last Updated: 10 October 2011
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

As with the MySuper product, many of the reforms proposed for SuperStream have already been discussed in detail.

Of all the proposed reforms, SuperStream has been the one most broadly accepted by the industry but there has been some disappointment where the reforms have been perceived as not going far enough.

Back office processing

The implementation timeline for the data and e-commerce standards which form part of SuperStream is as follows:

Early 2012 -Data standards published and available for use by superannuation funds (Funds) (voluntary uptake by Funds can commence from this point).

July 2013 - Data standards and use of e-commerce becomes mandatory for APRA-regulated funds and self managed superannuation funds for processing rollovers and accepting contributions (provided by employers in the new format).

July 2014 - Data standards and use of e-commerce becomes mandatory for large and medium employers making contributions.

July 2015 - Proposed application of data standards and use of e-commerce for small employers (subject to further consultation on impact).

The SuperStream reforms are intended to address existing inefficiencies in back office processing within the superannuation industry. This includes the lack of mandated data or transmission requirements for transactions within the superannuation system. The result is different data requirements and formats for processing data and payments, poor data quality and receipt of insufficient member information preventing correct allocation of contributions.

The widespread use of manual payments, such as cheques, data transfers using paper forms also contribute to poor data quality, processing delays, duplicated and lost accounts are also highlighted, all of which add to the cost of the system.

To address these inefficiencies the Government proposes:

  • improving the quality of the data in the system;
  • allowing use of tax file numbers (TFNs) as the primary locator of accounts;
  • encouraging use of technology to improve processing efficiency; and
  • improving the way Fund to Fund rollovers are processed and how contributions are made.

To achieve the above, standardised forms and common data standards will be developed to support electronic transactions. The Standard Business Reporting (SBR) framework will be used as the platform to develop the taxonomy and message structure for superannuation transactions, along with the use of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) to exchange information. In addition, the payment standard prescribed by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) and international financial messaging standards prescribed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 20022) will be used.

The Government has recognised that to achieve improvements in data quality, it will be necessary to mandate the use of data and payment standards for all superannuation transactions that involve member contributions and rollovers. The Government will therefore legislate mandating use of the new data and payment standards and reporting to Government to maximise efficiencies.

Small Employers

Consultation will continue with employer groups to develop the best and most practical ways to assist small employers with the implementation of the data and e-commerce standards. This will include use of the Medicare Small Business Superannuation Clearing House to streamline processing.

Information provided from Employers

Employers will provide superannuation funds with member information and linked payments in a standard electronic format that will remove substantial manual processing. This will improve the quality of member information received from employers and reduce the costs of reworks caused from incomplete or incorrect information.

Employers will be able to send contributions in a standard electronic format and will not need to submit this information to separate funds in different paper formats.

This will allow allocation of contribution payments to member's accounts quickly, and the improvement in the quality of the data will reduce the instances of lost super caused by incorrect or incomplete data sent to superannuation funds.

How these changes will be communicated to employers remains to be seen. While the Government may take some initiative in this area, it is clear that trustees of superannuation funds will also need to engage employer sponsors at an early stage, in relation to these changes, and other changes proposed under Stronger Super. Failure to do this could result in delays in the implementation. There are clearly advantages for employers through these improvements, although there may be some resistance at the implementation stage, particularly with smaller employers.



The timeline for account consolidation is as follows:

July 2011 - Superannuation funds can use TFNs as the primary locator to find accounts within a Fund.

January 2012 - Funds can use TFNs to search the ATO's current service to search for lost accounts, but only with member consent.

July 2012 - A member with multiple accounts within a Fund will have their accounts consolidated where possible.

July 2012 - The ATO will provide a new on-line facility for members to view active accounts only, in addition to their lost accounts and other superannuation monies held by the ATO (e.g. unclaimed money). Superannuation fund trustees will also be able to search account information, but only with member consent.

October 2013 - Funds must report all inactive accounts, lost accounts and active accounts to the ATO.

January 2014 - Commencement of automatic consolidation of lost and inactive accounts (i.e. 2 years without contributions or rollovers) with a balance of less than $1,000.00 and accounts in eligible rollover funds.

July – December 2014 - Enrolment process for new employees will be modified so employees can actively consider account consolidation at this time. If no choice is exercised, the default option is to create a new account and transfer any lost or inactive accounts with balances of less than $1,000.00 into the new account using the auto consolidation process.

Problems with multiple superannuation accounts and lost super has been an issue for the superannuation industry for many years, and previous attempts to resolve these issues have not been completely successful. The reforms proposed are as follows:

  • A streamlined process to consolidate accounts and avoid members paying unnecessary fees, including insurance premiums.
  • Accounts with less than $1,000.00 will be automatically consolidated with the current active account unless a member opts out.
  • Superannuation funds will be able to search the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) registers for lost or unclaimed superannuation, as well as information on member accounts so that they can prompt members to consolidate superannuation accounts.
    However to take this action, trustees have to obtain member consent. For new members this can be built into the original application for membership. For existing members it may prove more difficult as invariably, members when requested to take action (i.e. by signing and returning a consent form) invariably do nothing.
    The automatic consolidation is confined to accounts less than $1,000.00 and therefore its effectiveness is seriously undermined. The industry is already raising this fact with Government.

ATO consolidation process

The process is initiated by the ATO and will occur annually. The ATO will identify the relevant accounts and advise the active Fund. At this point the active Fund becomes responsible for arranging consolidation, unless the member opts out.

A prescribed time will be given for the active Fund to contact the member advising them that if they do not opt out, the active Fund will contact the other Funds concerned, and the automatic consolidation process will be activated.

A warning must be given to the member that insurance cover in other Funds may be lost, and they should consider this and any relevant information before making a decision to opt out. A prescribed time will be set for the member to respond if they do not want accounts automatically consolidated.

Increase in threshold amount for auto consolidation

In the latter half of 2014 the $1,000.00 threshold will be increased to at least $10,000.00. This will be subject to review by Treasury, ATO and APRA. Industry is likely to find even the $10,000.00 threshold inadequate to fully address this problem.

Enhance new employee enrolment process

This process commences during July – December 2014 to ensure new employees consider account consolidation at the time they join a new employer.

The process will allow them to access details of all their superannuation accounts from the ATO on-line, to assist them in exercising a choice. The employee can then use this information to elect to have superannuation contributions made to their existing account, or open a new default account. They can also elect to consolidate their other accounts on-line. The employee's active account will be notified by the ATO when such an election to consolidate occurs. The active Fund will then have a period of time in which to obtain consent and complete the consolidation.

This service will also be made available to existing employees who will also be able to choose to consolidate.

While this works in theory, the challenge will be to encourage new employees and existing employees to actually use this service. There is no detail around how employees, and also their employers, will be educated concerning this new process. Involvement of employers in this process will be critical to its success.

No TFN contributions

Use of TFNs will be expanded so that where a contribution is received and the trustee is unable to obtain a TFN, or other identifying details within a specified timeframe, it will then send the money to the ATO as part of the unclaimed money process. This new arrangement for the treatment of no TFN contributions will commence from 1 July 2013.


Currently, information on pay slips indicate the amount of superannuation accrued during the pay period, even where an employer has not made the contribution until after the end of the quarter. Employees are not in a position to know whether their employer has in fact made these contributions to the chosen or default fund on their behalf.

Although superannuation funds forward annual benefit statements with details of contributions made, these may not be issued for up to 18 months after the pay period in which superannuation contributions was supposed to be paid.

This lack of information places employees in a situation where they may not become aware of non payment of their contributions in sufficient time to take action and prevent those contributions from being lost.

To overcome this problem the following steps are proposed:

Information on pay slips

From 1 July 2012 employers will be required to report on payslips an "expected payment on or before date" in addition to the current entitlement during the pay period. This may be the due date for payment of the superannuation guarantee contribution, or a due date specified under a Workplace Agreement or Industrial Award. This in intended to place employees in a situation where they are advised of the expected date of payment of contributions to their superannuation fund, which will allow them to follow up with the Fund direct, in order to confirm that payments have been made by the due date.

From 1 July 2013, pay slips will need to report on the actual contributions paid, rather than those accrued, including which Fund they have been paid to. However, the provision of this additional information is conditional upon their being "no significant payroll system costs". This could mean once again this initiative is lost. Protection of member contributions should be the priority.

More frequent notification by Funds

In conjunction with improving the information provided on employees pay slips by employers, superannuation funds will also be required to report more frequently to members. It is proposed that Funds will either issue 6 monthly statements showing contributions made, or must report electronically to members on whether they have received or not received superannuation contributions during the quarter. Compulsory notification will commence on 1 July 2013.


A SuperStream Advisory Council will be established to oversee the SuperStream data and e-commerce standards implementation. Members of the Council will be appointed by Government and will report to Government on agreed measures for success of SuperStream. It is intended the Council be established in early 2012.


While it is clear that this initiative will deliver a number of improvements in efficiency, the initial cost of setting up for these changes will be considerable. While the superannuation industry is engaged and fully aware of these impending changes it is likely that employers and their employees are not as yet aware or engaged.

A number of the initiatives will require the commitment of employers to not only adopt the required procedures, but to encourage employees to take advantage of the services available to them.

It would be appropriate if this education campaign were initiated and funded by the Government, so that the cost burden does not fall on superannuation funds.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.