Government working on legislation to give victims of crime access to super

The Government is working on legislation to allow victims of crime to access superannuation, though the legislation may not pass in 2018, while consulting further on other changes to the early release of super rules.

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has confirmed the Government will allow victims of serious crimes to access the superannuation of perpetrators.

Minister O’Dwyer announced a review of the early release of superannuation benefits late in 2017, after media coverage that some perpetrators may have been using superannuation to shield their assets. The review was not just on access for victims of crime, but if the early release rules on compassionate grounds and severe financial hardship remained fit for purpose.  When announced the review was to report to Government in March 2018, but the Treasury website has the review reporting “in early 2018″. It is unclear if the report or has been given to the Minister or is complete.

“The Government is very very conscious that these changes are critical, they are needed and we will expedite these changes as soon as possible,” said Minister O’Dwyer, referring to the victims of crime changes.

However it seems that this would not be legislated before the end of 2018.

“We will work hard now to get legislation drafted so that we can release it for consultation certainty well before the end of the year.”

“My plan would be to introduce the legislation before the end of the year so that we can see these changes in Parliament as soon as possible.”

It appears that any other potential changes to the early release to super rules – such as allowing victims of domestic violence access to their super, or reducing the use of super for medical expenses – will come even later.

Referring to the consultation process on these options, Minister O’Dwyer said: “We have received feedback from a number of groups, in fact we have received over sixty submissions, to that particular review paper, we have had 10 roundtable meetings, we’ve had bilateral meetings and the work on that is ongoing at the moment and we expect to have a further consultation round as we refine our proposals there.”

Minister O’Dwyer expects minimal opposition to the victims of crime changes.

“I think most fair minded people would see these changes as long overdue and a recognition that individuals who have been impacted by these horrific sorts of crimes should be able to get proper access to compensation and that just because assets are held in a superannuation account should not mean that those victims should not gain access to it.  ”

“I can’t imagine that there would be anyone in this place who would oppose such a change but I suppose that’s a question that you would need to put to them,” said Minister O’Dwyer, in a Parliament House doorstop interview.

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