Senator Jane Hume has warned super funds to stop dragging their feet and allow members to withdraw their funds.
The second tranche of the government’s measures to tide workers through the coronavirus outbreak allows individuals experiencing financial hardship to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super fund.
But Senator Hume has put super funds who might be dragging their feet on the changes on notice, saying “no part of society or the economy is a sacred cow”.
“When we emerge out [on] the other side of this crisis, the Australian people will remember who stepped up, and who checked out,” Ms Hume said.
“There is no doubt we will recover, but I think we all know that this country will never be the same again, and every industry in Australia will change after this. Superannuation will not be immune to this change.”
Ms Hume accused some super funds of “self-interest dressed in sanctimony” and said that some were claiming immunity from the changes on the basis of “a higher calling”.
“Often those who seek to thwart collective efforts are doing so to hide individual failings,” Ms Hume said.
“If a fund has run a fairweather-only investment strategy, they will be exposed. There is a reason that diversification is important – it reduces risk. Risk isn’t a just financial concept, it’s a reality, and we’re living it.”
The changes have been met with resistance from the superannuation sector, with Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees CEO Eva Scheerlinck saying accessing super now would only “crystallise losses”.
“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,” Ms Scheerlinck said.
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