First Home Super Saver Scheme passes House, set for debate in Senate

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The First Home Super Saver Scheme has passed the House of Reps, but it is still unclear if it can pass the Senate.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 1) Bill 2017 and First Home Super Saver Tax Bill 2017 passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon. These Bills contain the downsizer contribution and First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS).

The FHSSS was announced in the 2017 Federal Budget. It is intended to apply to some contributions from 1 July 2017, with withdrawals allowed from 1 July 2018. However it is unclear if it has the support to pass the Senate, with Labor opposing the measure. The Greens are also planning to oppose the Bill, according to reports following their party room meeting on Tuesday.

Labor has indicated it may support the downsizer contribution – which allows a higher contribution cap for people who downsize – if it was in a Bill without the FHSSS.

The Government has been touting the FHSSS, but only introduced the legislation in to the Parliament in September – several months after the announced start date for contributions. People considering using the scheme have been warned about making contributions before the legislation is passed.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, speaking in the House, called the measures “ridiculous” and said it would undermine retirement incomes and make housing affordability worse.

“Superannuation accounts are meant to be a locked box to generate retirement income—not to be used at the whim of governments of the day but to be set aside for the very important task of providing every Australian with a dignified retirement,” he said.

The Bills do not contain a statement of compatibility with the objective of superannuation. Such a statement would be required if the Government’s Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, which is currently before the Senate, passes.

Next week is Senate Budget Estimates, which means the earliest the Bills could next be debated in the Senate would be 13 November.

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