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Retirement

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme

  • February 10 2021
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Retirement

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme

By Cameron Micallef
February 10 2021

The financial regulator has revealed how much superannuation Aussies have released from their retirement savings, as the unions highlight the long-term impact on workers. 

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme

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  • February 10 2021
  • Share

The financial regulator has revealed how much superannuation Aussies have released from their retirement savings, as the unions highlight the long-term impact on workers. 

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme

As part of the government's pandemic support, Australians under financial duress were enabled access to up to $20,000 in their super savings, in two tranches between 20 April 2020 and 31 December 2020.

But the unions are now questioning the scheme's long-term impacts, after APRA revealed that workers withdrew more than $36 billion from their retirement savings.

According to APRA, a total of 3.5 million initial applications were approved across the full period of the scheme, including 1.4 million repeat applications by those financially strained by the pandemic, putting the average payment at $7,638. 

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Repeat applications were for an average amount of $8,268 while initial applications were for an average amount of $7,402. 

Commenting on APRA's findings, the ACTU explained that vulnerable Aussies, who didn't qualify for the government's JobKeeper wage subsidy, were most significantly impacted by the early access to superannuation scheme. 

Casual employees, who worked for an employer over a period shorter than 12 months were barred from JobKeeper entirely, subsequently making hospitality workers some of the hardest hit.

As a result, according to the ACTU's data, 700,000 workers were forced to completely empty their superannuation accounts, with 80 per cent belonging to the below 35 age bracket.

“A 30-year-old emptying their account by withdrawing $20,000 will be nearly $80,000 worse off in retirement," said ACTU assistant secretary Scotty Connolly.

"This government has created a legacy of poverty by implementing a program designed to shift the burden of responding to this crisis from government to individual."

But the ACTU identified even further problems, pointing to the scheme's tendency to disproportionately affect women. 

 

“Women currently retire with 47 per cent of the amount of superannuation as men, and being forced into withdrawing from their retirement savings will widen this divide,” Mr Connolly said. 

According to the union, the average Aussie will run out of super 10 years before they die

“Workers urgently need to rebuild their super from this hit in order to retire with dignity, and the Morrison government must re-commit to the already legislated increase of 12 per cent for the superannuation guarantee,” Mr Connolly concluded. 

APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme
APRA releases final cost of early access to super scheme
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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