Local News

Super Account Balances Below Average In Cairns & FNQ


Image By Nevit Dilmen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

It has been revealed that the super account balances of people in Cairns and Far North Queensland are tracking below state and national averages.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has today released superannuation account data for Cairns and surrounds. The data shows that residents of the Leichhardt electorate hold an average super account balance of $103,454 – lower than both the state ($123,636) and national averages ($132,646).

The highest average account balance in the region was held by residents of Palm Cove at $123,369, followed by Kuranda at $118,630. Residents of Cairns City have an average nest egg of $103,933 and Port Douglas locals an average of $101,974.

Commenting on the data, ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said that geographic factors could strongly influence superannuation account balances, with balances in coastal or inner-city suburbs tending to be higher than for outer suburbs of cities.

"Superannuation account balances are tied to income, so areas with a higher proportion of high-income earners tend to have higher average superannuation account balances. We see this in more affluent suburbs, in major cities, and in some ‘sea change’ or ‘tree change’ destinations,” said Dr Fahy.

Average superannuation balances also vary with industry and occupation. If an area has an above average number of people working in public administration, education or health services, average balances are likely to be higher than if most people are working in retail or transport services.

The self-employed also tend to have lower superannuation balances on average. In many rural or regional areas there can be a relatively high level of self-employed people, in agriculture and related industries.

According to the ASFA Retirement standard June quarter, couples aged around 65, need to spend $61,522 per year to achieve a comfortable retirement, whereas singles need to spend $43,601.

“We know that all Australians want to achieve a comfortable retirement. A comfortable retirement lifestyle enables an older, healthy retiree to be involved in a broad range of leisure and recreational activities and to have a good standard of living through the purchase of such things as household goods, private health insurance, a reasonable car, good clothes and a range of electronic equipment. It also allows for domestic holiday travel, and occasional international holidays.

“The legislated increase in Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent of salary will play an important role in helping more people achieve this. However, if it doesn’t reach 12%, many Australians, including those from Far North Queensland risk missing out on the retirement lifestyle they had imagined,” said Dr Fahy.

In releasing the figures, ASFA called on all savers to check their super account balance and consider ways to boost their retirement outcome.

“Super has a crucial role to play in helping people achieve the standard of living in retirement that they want and deserve.  Its favourable tax treatment also makes it a very good way to save. Making extra contributions to your account, consolidating multiple accounts, and checking whether your account balance is on track using one of AFSA’s calculators are a few simple measures that can help set you on track,” said Dr Fahy.

Tables for Cairns

Average super balance by electorate







Notes to editors

ASFA calculated this data using data from the ABS, Australian Electoral Commission, Average Weekly Earnings; Electoral Count by Division, Age group and Gender (May 2019); Australian Taxation Office, Taxation Statistics; Department of Social Services, Payment Demographic Data; and ASFA calculations.) Average superannuation balances for each area are based on postcodes. Although each example suburb is within the corresponding postcode, in some cases the example suburb may not fall in the stated electorate.