Using super for housing is lazy thinking

superannuation housing

The Financial Services Minister has labelled calls for super to be used for housing is a recycled debate that stems from the poor policy decisions and lazy thinking of previous governments.

Calls for superannuation to be used to fund housing, healthcare or education are the result of poor decision-making when addressing these issues and highlight the need for an objective of super, according to Assistant Treasurer and Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones.

Speaking at the SMSF Association National Conference 2023 in Melbourne today, Jones said calls to use superannuation for non-retirement income purposes “generally point to another area of government policy failure”.

“Governments through lazy thinking are looking at the $3.3 trillion worth of funds under management [in superannuation] and say: ‘Let’s grab that and use that for another purpose,’” he said.

“That’s not what the objective of superannuation is and it is not the purpose of superannuation. We have to stand collectively to oppose that.

“Over the last decade, there have been plenty of areas, plenty of failures in other areas of government policy that need addressing,” he said, making specific reference to allowing superannuation to be used to purchase a home.

“We have seen this cycled through the policy debates over the last 20 years … and we have taken the view that it is a bad idea just about any time, but it’s a disastrous idea right now.

“We’ve got a Reserve Bank doing its best to fight inflation. We’ve got supply-side constraints in just about every input to the housing market and throwing more money out of superannuation funds into the housing fire at any time would be inflationary, but right now it would be an unmitigated disaster.”

He said it was the job of government to ensure there was a decent housing policy and adequately funded health and education systems rather than looking to superannuation as a stop-gap funding solution.

“If superannuation becomes the answer to all those problems, then it’ll be the answer to nothing. If the purpose of superannuation is to fix all those other issues, it’ll end up fixing none of them,” he said.

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