Access to super for housing is still bad policy

Superannuation industry associations have once again come out strongly against a policy of allowing first home buyers early access to their superannuation to purchase a home.

Following comments this week from Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who made the case for early access as part of a broader package to increased housing supply, Industry Super Australia, the SMSF Association, and the Financial Services Council have all remained emphatic in their opposition to the policy.

"This proposal could reduce retirement savings and drive up housing prices while doing nothing to address supply. It's simply bad policy," ISA chief economist Stephen Anthony said.

FSC chief officer Sally Loane was quick to remind members of the objective of superannuation; to ensure Australians can support themselves in retirement and reduce pressure on the public purse.

"The strength of the superannuation system is that relatively modest amounts saved early in your working life compound over time and help support a comfortable retirement," FSC chief executive Sally Loane said.

"Withdrawing superannuation savings to buy a house - especially when house prices appear to be at the high end of the cycle in the major states - will not help first home buyers into the market. It will only further fuel the increase in house prices."

"Using super to solve housing policy problems jeopardises the success of the superannuation system, which is ranked as the third best in the world by the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index," SMSF Association managing director and chief executive Andrea Slattery added.

Anthony hopes the housing affordability debate will remain focused on land release, regulation and tax subsidies that fuel investment in existing property rather than new buildings.

In a statement released yesterday, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen echoed the industry's calls adding that the government's plan was to let "a thousand stupid thought bubbles bloom."

"Early access to superannuation for a home deposit would undermine retirement savings, create new financial risks and ultimately serve no credible purpose other than bidding up the price of housing and pushing home ownership further out of reach of young aspiring Australians," Bowen said.

It is reported the government's plan is being considered as part of a wider housing affordability strategy set to be unveiled in the May federal budget.

Read more: AustraliansSally LoaneSMSF AssociationFSCChris BowenStephen AnthonyAndrea SlatteryAssistant Treasurer Michael SukkarFinancial Services CouncilIndustry Super AustraliaISAMelbourne Mercer Global Pension Index
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