National advocacy and networking group Women in Super is calling on the Federal Government to address the growing number of women retiring in poverty by boosting the superannuation accounts of low income earners.
Speaking at the launch of the group's Make Super Fair campaign, national chair Cate Wood urged for the immediate implementation of a nation-wide policy which would provide annual superannuation contributions of $1000 provided to low income earners.
Wood also called for the removal of the $450 monthly income threshold hold on superannuation contributions which sees more than 220,000 women per year miss out on superannuation. She is also calling for the superannuation guarantee to be increased to 12%, and for superannuation to be paid on parental leave.
"When around 40% of older single retired women live in poverty, we need to stop and say enough is enough," Wood said.
"We must do better than a system that sees women retiring with 47% less than men. This is a crisis and unless we act now we will be leaving a tragic legacy for younger women and it is not fair or reasonable to simply tell women to fix the problem themselves. We need to get the basics right."
According to current estimates, women retire with an average of 47%, or $85,000, less superannuation than men. More than 40% of older single women live in poverty - the fastest growing cohort of homeless people. Women are also more dependent on the Age Pension than men.
Under the Women in Super plan, a women aged 25 earning $25,000 per year would see her superannuation balance at retirement increase by 14.7% or $30,137 to reach $232,347. Current setting would see her reach $205,201.
A women aged 25 earning $35,000 per year with fragmented paid work would see her balance increase by 11.7% or $27,555 at retirement to reach $235,388.
Both male and female low income earners would be eligible for the payments under the plan until their superannuation balance reached $100,000.
Women in Super estimates that the proposed additional annual government super contribution for low income earners would cost the Government $2.7 billion per year.
"Approximately $30 billion is spent by Government on super tax concessions annually, the majority of which are paid to high income earners," Women in Super said.