Superannuation fears as thousands raid funds under early access scheme

About 258,000 of Sunsuper’s predominantly Queensland-based members have withdrawn $1.8 billion under the superannuation early access scheme.

Jul 01, 2020, updated Jul 01, 2020
Thousands of Queenslanders are accessing their superannuation

Thousands of Queenslanders are accessing their superannuation

Sunsuper chief executive Bernard Reilly told a QIC forum that Queensland had suffered a larger impact from the COVID-19 recession with higher unemployment than many other states. About 65 per cent of the fund’s members were Queensland based.

But the forum was told there was another wave of withdrawals coming and there were fears that people were starting to view their superannuation account like an ATM.

The forum, which also included CBUS, Hesta, Hostplus and Rest was told there had been evidence that women were withdrawing more funds than men and in many cases people had almost depleted their accounts.

For those who had withdrawn the $10,000 limit under the scheme it would mean they would have to work an extra 1.5 to two years to recoup the money, the forum was told.

“It’s been a challenge for all of us,” Reilly said.

But he said Sunsuper was preparing for a second round of people accessing their super. CBUS was also preparing for the second wave.

“The economic situation has not changed much,” he said.

QIC chief executive said the 6000 job losses from Qantas was “just the start” of the impact of the recession.

CBUS chief executive David Atkin said 135,000 of the fund’s members hade withdrawn $1.2 billion under the early access scheme. Hostplus has had 250,000 withdraw $1.7 billion.

Atkin said his fund was concerned that more of its members from the construction sector would face more financial stress and have to access the early release scheme.

“We have to avoid people viewing the system as an ATM,” Atkin said.

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