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How SuperStream helped Australia deal with a pandemic

I love a bold headline. SuperStream helping Australia to deal with the impact of COVID 19 seems like a long bow to draw doesn’t it?

But without the technical framework and digital capabilities introduced by SuperStream (accessible to all Australian employers via their business software providers), the Government would not have been able to build on this framework for Single Touch Payroll, and would not have been in the position to quickly identify which employers and their employees needed economic support due to COVID 19.

Remember Stronger Super?

In the early 2010s, the then (Labor) Government’s focus was very much on improving the governance, efficiency, structure and operation of Australia’s superannuation system.

While most of the attention went to My Super, with the benefit of hindsight, it is SuperStream that was the reform to arguably deliver the greater value to Australia. The technical foundation is created underpinned Single Touch Payroll and the Job Keeper response.

When you think about it, out of all the Strong Super reforms, SuperStream had the most utilitarian of objectives:

  • Develop data specifications and a common data format for all key superannuation processes.

  • Create messaging protocols that would embed security.

  • Enable the development of low-cost solutions that could be readily accessed by employers.

  • Simplify the sending and receiving of electronic messages by facilitating the creation of messaging Gateways.

SuperStream is now an integral part of employer processes. It has delivered on these objectives, efficiently and effectively by integrating with employers existing business processes.

Partnering between Government and Business Software Providers works

SuperStream has proven how a combination of sensible law, smart design and a willingness for Government and software developers to partner to deliver solutions can add value for all parties, especially employers. And importantly, SuperStream has left a legacy for others with the creation of the Business Transaction Network. Together, Gateway operators, business software providers (like SuperChoice Services) and Government have delivered a digital messaging infrastructure for Australia.

Business Transaction Network - making digital transacting the norm for business

The value of the Business Transaction Network is that it provides the framework to connect any digital messaging across Australia. Whether this is Business-to-Business, Business-to-Government or Government-to-Business.

One of the learnings arising from 2020 has been that there is immense value in Governments (States and Commonwealth) continuing to invest in digital infrastructure and continuing to review existing regulatory reporting obligations.

The opportunity exists for Governments to realise more efficiency across the economy by working with industry to identify where digital messaging (and payments) can be implemented to deliver streamlined business processes that operate through existing business systems and utilise the Business Transaction Network.

A Digital Business Plan – to advance Australia far

So, it is with great hope that the announcement (on 29 September) by Prime Minister Morrison to invest $800 Million on a Digital Business Plan will further build on the technical infrastructure that the Business Transaction Network has delivered.

As Australia prepares for the next stage of Digital business reform, it is worth reflecting that without the successful implementation of SuperStream the path to deliver STP and Job Keeper would not have existed. And hundreds of thousands of Australian's would have felt the financial impact of COVID-19 so much more.

About the author

Chris Denney is the Head of Government and Industry Engagement at SuperChoice and represents us (and our clients) on several industry bodies (ABSIA, GNGB) and Government forums focused on new business & technology initiatives.


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