Queensland leads nation in $7.4b super grab
Queenslanders have led the charge to withdraw superannuation early during the coronavirus pandemic with 145,000 people draining their accounts, according to new analysis.
Industry Super Australia's analysis shows that 15 of the top 20 electorates accessing superannuation early were in Queensland, led by Brisbane, Griffith and Moncrieff.
The figures, based on Treasury, ABS, ATO and Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority data, show that 994,649 Queenslanders had applied for the early release of super, with more than $7.4bn paid out since April.
The Morrison Government said updated figures showed 2.5m Australians had accessed super early, showing their "overwhelming support" for scheme.
In April the government allowed Australians who had lost jobs or were working fewer hours to withdraw two blocks of up to $10,000 from their super accounts.
According to the ISA analysis, 27 per cent of Queenslanders have accessed the scheme, which was the highest rate in the nation.
The average amount withdrawn in the state was $7933, according to the analysis.
Sydney and Melbourne were the only non-Queensland electorates in the top 10.
ISA estimated 144,909 Queenslanders had wiped out their balances with the withdrawals.
ISA chief executive Bernie Dean said the rate of total draw downs was a "tragedy waiting to happen for Queensland".
"The only way to repair the retirement savings of Queenslanders is to lift the super rate," he said.
"It is critical to helping rebuild savings wiped out and to avoid tax hikes on working people to prop up more people drawing a full pension."
The rate is legislated to incrementally rise from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025 with the first jump early next year but some Coalition backbenchers oppose the increases.
Assistant Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said there was no change in government policy about the super guarantee.
"There are no current plans to change the legislated increase but of course, the government understands the very real pressures facing Australian businesses due to the impact of COVID-19," Senator Hume said.
"However, it is worth noting that groups like ACOSS, the Grattan Institute, business lobby groups and even Industry Super Australia themselves have agreed that a rise in the superannuation guarantee will have a potentially detrimental effect on wages.
"The biggest threat to Queenslanders standard of living in retirement is not the early release of superannuation it's unemployment.
She said according to the "robust statistics" of the ABS, 57 per cent of people who accessed their super early planned to, or already had, used the money to pay household bills, mortgage, rent and other debts.
Originally published as Queensland leads nation in $7.4b super grab