A super history

LUCRF Super played a major role in shaping the super system as we know it today and this is something we are extremely proud of.  

LUCRF Super’s leadership

We were established in 1978 by the Federated Storeman and Packers Union (FSPU), now the National Union of Workers (NUW).

At that time, superannuation had only been available to a small group of privileged workers. Over 35 years later, super is seen as a basic right of employment for most workers. Financial independence and security in retirement has become a reality for many ordinary Australians. 

The history of super

Before 1978, the average Australian worker was not entitled to superannuation. Generally speaking super was exclusively a white collar benefit and the industry was controlled by employers and insurers. 

Back then, qualifying for super was tough. It was considered a reward for long and loyal service, and to be eligible you had to spend 35 to 40 years with the one company. The reality that most people change jobs throughout their working life was largely ignored.

The people who were lucky enough to have some sort of retirement benefit did not enjoy the same flexibility and rights that we do today.

The arrangements were at the discretion of the employer, which often meant that if an employee left a company, or lost their job, they lost all of their employer contributions.

For everyday workers, the situation was worse. They were forced to rely solely on the Age Pension when they retired.

In December 1978, that all changed.

The principles of super 

The original concepts of the FSPU and LUCRF Super, which formed the foundation for the new approach to super, became the principles that now underpin the Australian superannuation system.

These principles are:

  • Portability – the ability to take your super with you from job to job
  • Full vesting – employer contributions are ‘deferred pay’ and belong to employees and should remain in their super accounts
  • Employee owned – the money in super belongs to employees and they have ownership rights.

Establishing the first industry super fund

The FSPU recognised that the existing superannuation system provided few benefits for ordinary working people.

The union created LUCRF Super on the ideal that people should be entitled to the above principles. They wanted members to have the right to keep all their contributions and to provide fair retirement benefits to everyone. When the FSPU established LUCRF Super, the lasting significance of its actions was still only a dream.

In a revolutionary approach, employers were asked to join the Trustee Board. This established a long-standing partnership between industrial partners for the benefit of all members.

The Skin and Hide Industry Employers Association was the first employer organisation to agree to make contributions on behalf of their employees and participate on the board.

Changing the super system

LUCRF Super offered a new alternative to superannuation. Operating like a bank account, contributions accumulated with investment returns, less minimal fees.

In 1985, as part of Accord Mark II, the Federal Government supported a productivity claim that provided a 3% employer contribution to an approved superannuation fund.

In 1991, the Hawke-Keating Government deemed the 3% contribution too small and introduced legislation for a prescribed level of superannuation for all employees, known as the Superannuation Guarantee (SG). This regime is still in place today and the contribution rate continues to increase gradually, with a proposed rise to 12 per cent of ordinary time earnings by 2025. 

Although a lot has changed since super’s humble beginnings, one thing has remained constant – LUCRF Super has been there for members and employers.