New data from the ABS shows that a significant portion (55 per cent) of early super payments were used to pay mortgage, rent, or other household bills in what superannuation minister Jane Hume called “an overwhelming success”.
“The Morrison Government acted decisively in the national interest to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of the COVID-19 – the success of this program proves that it was an effective measure,” Ms Hume said.
“The scheme was a flexible option and more than 3 million Australians weighed up the decision, and decided that withdrawing their super was the best financial decision for them.”
Australians also used early super to pay down debts (15 per cent) or added it to their savings (13 per cent), which Ms Hume said was in line with the Retirement Income Review’s finding that “offering prudent and limited access to superannuation prior to retirement is consistent with the objective of balancing living standards pre and post-retirement.”
Early super payments quickly surpassed Treasury’s initial estimates of $27 billion with around $36 billion withdrawn. The program faced significant criticism from superannuation funds and economists, but Ms Hume said that early super was a “flexible option” that many Australians decided “was the best financial decision for them.”
“The best way for the Government to help workers rebuild their retirement savings is to do everything we can to help them get back into a job soon. And that’s exactly what we’re focused on,” Ms Hume said.