THE banking industry Royal Commission has uncovered some extremely poor behaviours from within the powerful sector, and despite the government’s initial hesitance to support such a move, the exposé is turning out to hopefully be a good thing.

Day after day, national media reports have highlighted practices from within the bigger banks that frankly, leave a lot to be desired.

The layers of scrutiny must surely lead to changes that should benefit Australians who rely upon their banking institution for so much and for so long.

But to say there’s room for improvement from within the banking sector would be the understatement of this whole process.

But something good must come from this, and that surely must include tighter controls on the industry, more powers to regulators and those charged with overseeing the industry and greater education and awareness among customers of their rights and obligations.

Instilling a greater sense of confidence and belief in the banking sector is important, if for no other reason than we all use a bank at some stage, some of us more often than others.

And while the government is looking into the banks, it could also do a lot worse than to put a similar amount of focus on the country’s massive superannuation industry and the regime of fees and charges that do little to inspire confidence in an industry we all have exposure to.

There’s a massive gap in the education process when it comes to superannuation – every Australian worker should have a super account, but none of us are actually taught much, if anything about what to do and/or how to manage our super.

Assumptions that ordinary Australians will somehow work it out for themselves creates opportunities for some, especially younger workers and those employed casually, to be exploited.

Knowing that the potential for this to happen is very real should be the catalysts for the necessary actions to prevent such a thing from happening, but all too often we only find out about some wrongdoing when it’s too late.

There’s a lot of wastage in the superannuation industry that is allowed to exist, and it costs us all dearly.

Parents need to, and should take an interest in, their children’s pay packets, especially when it comes to young workers entering the workforce for the first time.

More Australians need to know more about their super, and there’s no point looking back in years and decades to come and lamenting what might have been.

Australia’s superannuation industry was created under the stewardship of former Treasurer and prime minister Paul Keating, and the initiative is meant to give a lot of us a bit more financial comfort and peace of mind when it becomes time to eventually retire.

As we continue to enjoy one of the highest life expectancies anywhere on the planet, the need for our superannuation fund to be our friend assumes even greater
importance.

A far harsher penalty structure needs to be applied to employers who fail to fulfil their obligations to their staff and to the community, and no one can reasonably argue with the need for greater diligence, but this is something we should all accept a greater responsibility for.

Compulsory superannuation is just that.

Young people starting out in the workforce today have enough challenges around firstly obtaining suitable employment, finding a place that’s affordable to live in, and then getting on with their lives in a society that has been more confusing or that has never presented as many opportunities at the same time.

Equally, the cost of purchasing a home has never been greater, health insurance has never cost us more, childcare has never been more expensive and the expectations we place upon ourselves have also never been greater.

Australia’s cost of living now ranks among the world’s highest, and in many ways, it’s viewed as a price to pay for an equally high standard of living most Australians have the chance to enjoy.

That’s why treating others as we would have them treat us has also never been more appropriate or important.