In the media blitz around the Intergenerational Report Treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed changes to superannuation may be in the works.
Speaking to Channel 7 Mr Hockey flagged the Government would be consulting on changes to superannuation:
I think we need to think a bit more broadly about what superannuation is expected to do over the next 40 years. We gave a promise at the last election; we’re keeping that we’re not changing superannuation in these three years, but I do want to have a proper conversation…
Mr Hockey said a lot of people were approaching him saying that young people should be able to access their superannuation to fund a deposit for a first home.
He also asked “should superannuation laws be changed so that they can accommodate our needs and our superannuation can accommodate our needs as we go in and out of the workforce and change careers? These are the sorts of questions we need to have answered.”
In an interview with Sky, the Treasurer said:
We’ve still got a society that is based on one or two careers where the assumptions are that you’ll have that career for your working life – that’s changing. Therefore, we’ve got to change our attitudes, and we’re going to have to, over time, change workplace laws, change the superannuation laws, to accommodate the changing nature of work and the changing nature of life.
Recently the Treasurer has also floating the idea of extending the ability of older Australians to continue to contribute to superannuation.
It seems the Government will use the Intergenerational Report to shape the debate ahead of the budget, and around the Tax White Paper process, which the Treasurer revealed would be released in April after the first round of consultation on the Intergenerational Report.
Update: Joe Hockey has defended the idea of allowing first home buyers to access their superannuation, saying he wanted the debate. If nothing else he has achieved that. The Prime Minister said “it’s a perfectly good and respectable idea,” but there is no plans to introduce such a scheme. Malcolm Turnbull said it was a “thoroughly bad idea.” Peter Costello said he considered such a proposal and rejected it. Paul Keating said it was a move in attempts to destroy universal superannuation. Both Industry Super Australia and ASFA rejected the idea.
For a timeline of events see: Do ‘thought bubbles’ lead to good superannuation policy?
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