Super tax breaks targeted by Treasurer Jim Chalmers ahead of May budget

Australians have around $3.3 trillion in pensions and legislation on what that money can be used for was a Labor Party campaign pledge.

It has criticized the Morrison government’s early pandemic policies, which allowed Australians experiencing financial difficulties to withdraw up to $20,000 from their Super, as well as a coalition policy giving first-home buyers access to up to $50,000 of their super to help them purchase a property.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said late last year that enshrining a definition for super would protect it from “crackdowns” on home or college debt.

Opposition financial services spokesman Stuart Robert said Monday the coalition supports enshrining a definition of super but that it should focus on individual Australians.

“We agree that there should be a purpose and it should be about the person and how the person uses their money, not how the treasurer wants their money to be used for their purposes,” he said.

“This is members’ money, it is individual Australians’ money and there is nothing more dignified than a single Australian owning his own home. And if they can use their super to buy their own house, I think that’s a great use for retirement.”


Robert also suggested that the pension could be used for even broader purposes.

“What could be more dignified than Australians getting early access to Super because they’ve been unemployed for 26 weeks and have a family. What could be more dignified than Australians having early access to Super for their medical needs, or frankly, for the last two years of their lives?” he said.

Deanne Stewart, chief executive of Aware Super, said the government’s proposed definition of super is a good place to start because retirement planning is ultimately for retirement planning and should not be a wealth preservation or estate planning tool.

“It’s too easy to think of it as a huge pool of money that can be used for anything rather than people’s own money for their retirement,” she told Sky News.

Industry Super Australia CEO Bernie Dean agreed.

“It should help avoid another disaster where people for some reason can grab very early, hurting everyone,” he said.

Break through the noise of federal politics with news, perspective and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here. Super tax breaks targeted by Treasurer Jim Chalmers ahead of May budget

Callan Tansill

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