09 August 2020

The Morrison Government’s early super access scheme will leave young Australians more than $44 billion worse off at retirement and has exposed the retirement savings schemes to frauds and scams.  
After taking into account inflation and cost of living, a 25 year old who withdraws $20 000 will be between $80 000-$100 0000 worse off in retirement. A 35 year old who withdraws $20 000 will be at least $65 000 worse off.
Collectively under 35s, will be at least $51 billion worse off at retirement.
Instead of receiving timely Government support, young Australians have borne the brunt of this crisis and will be forced to continue to pay the cost in years to come
So far, more than 606,000 Australians have emptied their superannuation accounts. 494,000 of those are under 35 years of age. 
From the time it was set up in March, to provide a quick source of cash to those who had lost work because of the pandemic, the scheme was under attack from fraudsters.
In May the scheme was frozen when the AFP uncovered evidence that sophisticated criminal were using the scheme to steal super from unsuspecting Australians.
The ABC’s 7:30 program told the story of Daniel Bunten, who had $9,000 stolen from him through the Government’s lack of scrutiny.
Hundreds of other Australians may have also faced the same issues. It is not clear how many have been hit by super thieves – because the threat was not detected by the ATO, but by an employee at a super fund.
Following these revelations, the Government was forced to temporarily freeze the scheme. The AFP have still not ruled out the involvement of organised and offshore crime.
Government Ministers are also yet to reveal how many fraudulent claims have been made, or what the Government is doing to compensate victims after the ATO directed their super fund to make a payment to a fraudulent account.
It has also been reported that there is an alarming trend of super funds being plunged directly into online gambling. If true, the embattled Government scheme may be boosting the profits of dodgy overseas gambling businesses, instead of stimulating the economy and addressing real hardship cases.
In June, the ATO announced it would commence investigations into individuals who had accessed the scheme on incorrect grounds.
Poor communication and misleading promotion of the scheme – including by Government senators – may mean that some have accessed the scheme incorrectly.This could leave well-intentioned individuals struggling with the costs of the coronavirus pandemic facing fines of up to $12,600.
And in July, senior public servants conceded that the early release scheme may result in Australians losing access to JobSeeker and other income support if they were to use the scheme.
On 23 July, the Government decided to extend the scheme through for three months, with no consultation, no formal announcement, and no parliamentary review.
Labor has now asked the Auditor-General to investigate the Morrison Government’s troubled robo-release early access scheme.