Allowing Australians to access their superannuation now would only “crystallise losses”, according to a leading industry body.
Talk has built over the last several weeks that the Australian government may allow Australians to access their superannuation in order to tide them over through joblessness or business shutdown.
But the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has hit back at the suggestion, saying “a minority of commentators and policymakers” who oppose super as public policy are using a period of economic uncertainty to “undermine our universal super system.”
“They tout accessing our super savings as the solution to every economic and policy issue, from low wages to the cost of housing, and the current crisis is no different,” said AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck.
“The truth is that while advocating for accessing super at times of crisis might provide an opportunity for opponents of super to break down universal compulsory super, policymakers must do better than a short-term hit at the cost of long-term economic and public policy benefit.
“Accessing super when markets are low will crystallise losses and represents minimal short-term gain with a significant long-term cost.”
Super funds can help stabilise the economy – as they did during the GFC – by providing a source of capital to companies when retail demand and global corporate bond markets dry up. Ms Scheerlinck also said that the purpose of super “is to improve retirees’ quality of life” and said other policy levels should be pulled to face the current economic challenges.
“As one of the architects of our super system, Garry Weaven, has said, superannuation allows ordinary people to pool their savings and invest like the rich, they can buy when markets are low and sell when they are high, they can afford the best advice, and no deal is too big for them,” Ms Scheerlinck said.
“This doesn’t change when times are tough – our super system is designed to weather these fluctuations.”
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