Hazel Bateman, Robbie Campo, David Constable, Isabella Dobrescu, Ailsa Goodwin, Junhao Liu, Ben R Newell and Susan Thorp
By mid-August 2020, Australian superannuation fund members had made more than 3 million applications to withdraw retirement savings under the COVID-19 Superannuation Early Release Scheme, supporting more than $31B in payments. The relaxation of conditions for early release of superannuation savings changed a fundamental feature of the Australian retirement savings system. Responses of members to the early release scheme highlight the effectiveness of the standard superannuation preservation rules. Early withdrawals have short-term and long-term consequences for individual members who take payments under the scheme, and for society as a whole.
We report results of a survey of over 3,000 members of Cbus, a leading industry fund, who withdrew some or all of their superannuation savings in the first phase of the COVID-19 early release scheme between April and June 2020.