Without regard to whether giving Australians early access to their superannuation during these challenging times is a good idea or not, it’s clearly been exceptionally popular. Already the ATO has reported more than a half-million Australians have requested early access, a number that has continued to grow week-on-week.
Liberal Senator Jane Hume, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services, and Financial Technology, took issue with Industry Super Australia’s polling that she said attempted to "undermine confidence in the early release of super mechanisms.
Industry Super Funds (ISA) claimed that a million Australians may seek to raid their savings under the early access scheme, despite not being eligible because they don’t meet the criteria around hardship.
"At a time when the rest of the industry is working together with struggling Australians, it is sad to see the ISA engaging in disingenuous media stunts that reek of self-interest over national interest," wrote Hume on a LinkedIn post
ISA has been vocal in their view that early access to super should be a last resort, not something done casually. "The COVID-19 pandemic has created extraordinary times and ISA acknowledges the government’s need to take the extraordinary measure of loosening the restrictions on early access to superannuation as part of its financial support package,” they wrote in late March. "For some members their short-term financial survival might rely on the ability to access the up to $20,000 form super that the scheme allows.
"But accessing superannuation early should be approached with extreme caution and only as a last resort."