The federal government has described the initiative that allowed individuals to access their superannuation early due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19 as a success after the release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Household Financial Resources report last week.
The ABS report indicated the majority of Australians who took advantage of the measure, 55 per cent, used the money to pay their mortgage, rent or other household bills. The data showed an additional 15 per cent of individuals accessed their retirement savings early to pay down debt, while a further 13 per cent used it to add to their savings.
According to the government, the statistics are consistent with the finding of the Retirement Income Review that providing superannuants with limited and prudent early access to their retirement savings helped balance pre and post-retirement living standards.
Further, the coalition government stated the report demonstrated the relief measure as a response to the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic definitely provided people across the country with significant support in a period of financial uncertainty.
Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy Minister Jane Hume said the ABS figures demonstrated the early release of super scheme was an unquestionable success.
“The Morrison government acted decisively in the national interest to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of COVID-19 – the success of this program proves that it was an effective measure,” Senator Hume said.
“The scheme was a flexible option and more than 3 million Australians weighed up the decision and decided that withdrawing their super was the best financial decision for them.”
Now the initiative has finished, she acknowledged the need to help Australians rebuild their superannuation balances and suggested the most effective way to do so is to focus on keeping unemployment numbers low.''