Accessing super for housing unlikely, following leaders debate

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have all but ruled out allowing superannuation to be withdrawn and put towards housing.

They were asked, at the latest leaders debate, if they supported allowing people to access their superannuation for a home deposit.

PM Malcolm Turnbull said:

The purpose of superannuation is to provide for people in retirement and if you allow super to be drawn out before people retire and accessed for other purposes then they will not have that money available to them, or may not have that money available to them, when they retire and the whole purpose…

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was more direct:

I’ll just answer your question very directly. Labor has no plans to allow people to use their super for a housing deposit, which is the question you’re asking, so, as much as I’d like everyone to like me on everything I say, the nature of leadership is that you can’t always tell people that but you made another point, which I want to go to – it’s about housing affordability and it’s about the Budget.

When Joe Hockey was Treasurer he raised the option of allowing first home buyers to withdraw some of their superannuation for a deposit. At the time Malcolm Turnbull said it was a “thoroughly bad idea”.

However other members of the Coalition have also shown interest in accessing superannuation for housing. Nationals Senator Canavan has pointed to a “very sensible system” in Canada where money can be borrowed from retirement savings.

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