HESTA industry super fund has welcomed moves by the Government to review the rules governing early release of super.
Treasury will consider early release of super on the grounds of severe financial hardship and compassionate grounds.
Treasury will also review whether, and the circumstances in which, superannuation assets should be available to pay compensation or restitution to victims of crime.
“We agree with the Government that it’s high time current arrangements relating to the early release of superannuation on financial hardship or compassionate grounds be reviewed,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.
“It’s also encouraging that the government is going to look at making superannuation available to pay compensation or restitution to victims of crime. Family violence victims and survivors are victims of crime and they too should be able to access the perpetrators’ super to assist their recovery and rebuild their lives.”
Ms Blakey said too often finances were a barrier to women trying to leave a violent relationship and the review should also consider ways to allow victims and survivors to access their own super.
“Unfortunately, financial support for survivors of family violence is grossly inadequate,” she said.
“While early access to super is currently possible to stop the bank selling your home, pay for a dependant's funeral or get medical treatment under compassionate grounds, this is denied in instances of family violence. We think it’s entirely appropriate super regulations extend compassion to victims and survivors of family violence to empower women with the financial means to escape abusive relationships.”
The rules governing early release of superannuation have not changed substantially since 1997.
An issues paper is scheduled for release before the end of 2017 and the review will make recommendations to the Government early in 2018.
The Government will also transfer the regulatory role of administering the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds from the Department of Human Services to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), likely to take effect in 2018.