Money accessed through the early release of super scheme looked to be coming in under the government’s revised expectations as the scheme drew to a close at the end of 2020.
APRA statistics to 20 December showed that $35.9 billion had been withdrawn through the scheme since its inception, with an average payment of $7,643 per member.
The scheme was originally projected to cost $30 billion in April 2020, but Treasury revised the amounts expected to be withdrawn to $41 billion in July. The scheme concluded on 31 December 2020.
APRA said there had been 3.4 million early release applications received to 20 December, 1.4 million of which were repeat applications, with members able to access two separate tranches of money in the 2020 and 2021 financial years.
Average amounts withdrawn for repeat applicants were slightly higher at $8,284 compared to $7,400 for one-time applicants.
In the week to 20 December, 21,000 early release applications were received by super funds, with the majority being initial applications as fund members sought to take advantage of the scheme before it closed. Of applications received in that week, 69 per cent were initial applications compared to 31 per cent repeat applications.
Funds made a total of $159 million in early release payments to members in the week to 20 December.
APRA said 98 per cent of applications received since the scheme’s inception had been paid.
The news comes as Liberal MP Tim Wilson encouraged fund members on Twitter to access their super early to “bring forward a purchase” for property before the scheme closed at the end of December.
“Aiming to buy a first home and struggling to save the deposit? For 4 more days you may be able to access your super savings now to bring a purchase forward: earlier and cheaper,” Mr Wilson tweeted on 28 December.
Labor MP Chris Bowen blasted Mr Wilson’s comments as having “advised people to act in breach of the rules”, pointing out that early access was supposed to be for COVID-related hardship only.