Split views on super raid
Big names in the Australian industrial sector are divided over a plan to allow people to raid their superannuation for house purchases.
The Coalition has come up with a controversial policy to let Australians withdraw up to $50,000 from their superannuation to get into the property market.
Modelling has shown that letting prospective buyers pull out $40,000 of superannuation would push up housing prices by about $45,000 in Sydney and by almost $100,000 in Brisbane.
Building industry lobby Master Builders Australia (MBA) claims the policy will keep homeownership within reach while maintaining the integrity of the superannuation system.
The “success of this policy is that it is aligned with the intent of superannuation, which is to provide sufficient retirement income”, according to Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn.
“This policy will mean that many Australians who do not currently own a home will not have to choose between the benefits of home ownership and an adequate super balance in retirement,” she said.
“It will be a step up for all the aspirational people on middle incomes who yearn to own their own home but need to overcome the deposit gap and who are not eligible for current schemes.”
Industry super fund Cbus - which is a sponsoring employer group of MBA - has slammed the proposal, saying the policy is “simply the latest refresh of an idea long discredited by experts”.
Cbus chairman, former federal treasurer Wayne Swan (who is also the national president of the Labor Party), recently called on policymakers to “resist the urge to tinker and misuse [superannuation] for short-term purposes for which it was never designed”.
The Financial Services Council (FSC), which represents retail super funds, said the “proposal weakens the sole purpose of superannuation, which is to provide higher standards of living in retirement”.
FSC chief executive Blake Briggs said “the government has an obligation to do more to boost supply, otherwise unleashing superannuation savings on the housing market risks driving prices higher still”.
Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie says the Coalition’s proposal joins “a long line of policies that inflate the cost of housing, making it less affordable for people on low and modest incomes”.
“This is poor policy and should not be implemented,” Ms Goldie said.
The Coalition also announced that it would allow all Australians over the age of 55 to ″downsize″ their homes and put up to $300,000 into super funds outside existing contribution caps. Labor leader Anthony Albanese said his party would match this aspect of the policy.