First home super scheme may not make it to parliament in 2018

Bills to enact the First Home Super Savers Scheme, residential downsizing incentives, and a raft of additional superannuation and retirement policies announced following this years' Budget may not be introduced to Parliament before the end of the year.

As per the Legislation Proposed for Introduction in the 2017 Spring Sittings, the only superannuation-related bill for debate will be the Public Sector (Superannuation) Laws Amendment Bill, a bill which provides updates to existing legislation for Commonwealth employees, judges and parliamentarians.

The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS), residential downsizing incentives, closing of the superannuation guarantee loophole, and the expansion of choice, consumer power, and increased transparency are nowhere to be seen.

The spring sitting session of parliament is scheduled to run from August 8 to December 7.

The FHSSS was originally proposed to apply to eligible contributions from 1 July 2017, with withdrawals allowed from 1 July 2018.

A statement released by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison last month said the Government was "launching the next phase of its comprehensive housing affordability package" by releasing draft legislation to help Australians buy their first home, and encouraged interested stakeholders to make a submission.

However subsequent push back from industry participants and the opposition have put the passage of the policy in doubt.

In a statement, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustee said they had significant reservations about this measure, and it's relation to the objective for superannuation.

"The sole purpose test generally requires that superannuation funds be required to maintain benefits for members' retirement, or for insurance related purposes," AIST said.

"The FHSSS is not consistent with this objective, nor is it consistent with the Bill (currently before Parliament) which proposes to enshrine an objective of superannuation."

The Financial Planning Association has similarly provided reserved feedback, using their submission to treasury to warn of the risks of unintended consequences to both superannuation and the housing market.

"The FPA is concerned that allowing people to access their superannuation accounts for a deposit will have consequences on both the housing market and the retirement income system, ultimately increasing house prices and the strain on the Age Pension," the submission said.

Read more: SuperannuationFirst HomeSuper Savers SchemeSpring SittingAISTFPA
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