On 20.11.18, Minister for Women: Kelly O’Dwyer announced that the Government move to change the law so that:

  • victims of family violence could get early access to their superannuation money; and
  • it will improve the visibility of super assets in family law proceedings.

These measures were included in the broader financial support package for women announced by the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer. The Greater Choice for Australian Women – Women’s Economic Security Statement 2018 sets out a $109m package of measures aimed at increasing women’s workforce participation, earning potential and economic independence.

Currently, early release of super is provided in limited circumstances under SIS Regulation 6.19A – such as terminal illness and severe financial hardship.

  • The Government considers that family and domestic violence is a special circumstance, and it will amend the law to add this extra circumstance (as it can be an important last resort lifeline).
  • This combines with Ms O’Dwyer’s previous announcement (as Minister of Revenue) to allow victims of crime to access an offender’s superannuation. She also announced moving the administration of the early release of superannuation, from the Department of Human Services to the ATO and also  (see related Tax Technical article).

Visibility of superannuation in Family Law proceedings will also be improved by an electronic information sharing mechanism between the ATO and the Family Law Courts. The electronic information sharing is due to commence on 1 July 2020.

FJM 3.12.18

[Treasury website: Ministers’ Joint Media Release; LTN 223, 20/11/18; Tax Month – November 2018]


CPD questions (answers available)

  1. Did the Minister form Women announce that the Government would be changing the conditions for early release of superannuation benefits, to include victims of family or domestic violence?
  2. Did the same Minister (albeit in a different portfolio, then) announce that victims of crime could get access to the offender’s superannuation?
  3. Is the superannuation of parties to family law proceedings always readily visible?
  4. What is the related measure?

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