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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Tony Abbott backs early superannuation access for first home buyers

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TONY Abbott says allowing first home buyers to dip into their superannuation is a “good idea” that should be considered by the Federal Government.

The former Prime Minister says the controversial proposal has “some merit”, the ABC reports.

“You want your money to be as useful as it can be,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

“Superannuation is not the Government’s money, it is the people’s money.

“If people would prefer to use it to put down a deposit on a home rather than saving it up for 30, 40 or 50 years’ time then, why not? I think this is a good idea.”

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It’s understood the Turnbull Government is considering the plan as part of a major housing package to be announced in the May budget.

Treasurer Scott Morrison did not rule out the proposal in a major speech to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute yesterday, which focused on housing affordability.

Mr Morrison said any policy tackling housing affordability needed to be more scalpel than chainsaw.

But a number of Liberal backbenchers have publicly backed the proposal already.

Liberal MP Ian Goodenough took to social media to show his support, saying Singapore had a similar policy.

It’s understood the proposal being considered would allow first-home buyers to divert some superannuation contributions into a home savings account.

But the amount would have to be matched by contributions from personal savings.

The amounts available and the time period over which it could be accessed would be capped.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said today the government was keen to help first home buyers get into the market “as soon as possible” but would address housing affordability issues across the board, not just in one or two areas.

Mr Sukkar would not be drawn on details ahead of the budget but told Sky News a number of decisions in the housing package had yet to be made.

“What we do know with first home buyers, in Sydney … for the average first homebuyer now it’s taking them eight years to save a deposit,” he said.

“In Melbourne, it’s taking a first homebuyer six years to save for a deposit.

“One of the frustrating things … is if it’s taking you eight years to save that deposit, by the time you get to that eighth year, actually the deposit required is substantially more than that. In a sense, it continually gets further away from you.

“We’re going to be pretty keen to examine measures that can bridge that gap, and allow first home buyers to get into the market as soon as possible otherwise the goal posts keep shifting and it gets harder and harder.”

Allowing early access to superannuation has mixed support on the crossbench. One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has previously backed the proposal but Senator Derryn Hinch has called it “madness”.

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The Opposition has also vowed to do all it can to kill off the policy if the Government does announce it in next month’s budget.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen called it a “thoroughly bad policy” which Labor would oppose with “every ounce of energy, and every capacity at our availability in Parliament and in the community”.

Mr Bowen told the ABC this morning the policy would overheat the housing market even further.

“It takes a very bad policy to actually make the housing situation worse. And take a key brick out of Australia’s retirement income system,” he said.

“You’re really saying to young Australians, you can have a house, or you can have a dignified retirement but you can’t have both.”

Online Source: The NEWS

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