The Morrison government are being urged to crack down on Superannuation theft after a report revealed that Newcastle-Hunter workers are losing out on almost $150 million in super payments each year.

The report by Industry Super Australia has found unpaid super is getting worse, not better, with 2.98 million Australians being shortchanged $5.9 billion in super entitlements in 2015-16.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said too often she gets calls from concerned residents at their wit’s end.

“The Australian Tax Office has officially confirmed the money is owed, workers can’t chase this money as the debt isn’t technically owed to them.

“I do not think that we should sugar coat this in any way, shape or form. This is not a matter of, as some have argued, some kind of oversight. I think we have to call this out for what it is, unpaid super is theft pure and simple. It is against the law,” Ms Claydon said.

The report offers four key points to fix the problem which includes mandating payment of super with payment of salary, better monitoring and stronger enforcement from the ATO, utilising currently underutilised penalties and, extending the safety net for unpaid entitlements.

Ms Claydon said the Morrison Government’s failure to get tough on unpaid superannuation was yet another betrayal of Australian workers.

“Under Labor, employers who underpay superannuation to their staff because of a false or misleading statement will be fined an amount equal to 100 per cent of the unpaid super. Employers who fail to tell the ATO about unpaid superannuation when asked will face fines equal to 300 per cent of the unpaid super.

“Labor will also enshrine a right to superannuation within the National Employment Standards, giving workers the power to pursue their unpaid superannuation through the Fair Work Commission or Federal Court,” Ms Claydon said.