Help for local residents – Federal Government crackdown on illegal early release superannuation schemes

Jason Clare, Federal Member for Blaxland, today welcomed the introduction of the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Reducing Illegal Early Release and Other Measures) Bill into Parliament which brings in new penalties for promoters of illegal early release schemes.

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Illegal early release schemes are presented to people as a way of accessing their superannuation benefits before they are eligible. This means that their retirement savings diminish much earlier.

Currently, there are no specific promoter penalties under the superannuation law. Under the new laws, promoters of illegal early release schemes will face civil and criminal penalties including a fine of up to $340,000 (2,000 penalty units) and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

“People who promote illegal early release schemes exploit the most vulnerable people in our local community who may not be fully aware of the rules regarding accessing their superannuation benefits,” Mr Clare said.

“These new penalties will stop promoters of illegal early release schemes from taking advantage of people in our local community and help protect the superannuation savings of all Australians.”

Promoters of these schemes generally target non-English speaking communities.

“Residents in our local community are being targeted by promoters of illegal early release schemes because of their poor English skills,” Mr Clare said.

“That is why these new laws are so important– they protect the hard earned superannuation savings of people in our local community.”

Some schemes have facilitated up to $8 million in illegal release of superannuation benefits with an average amount accessed of $20,000.

Promoters have been found to take fees of up to 50% of the member’s superannuation balance. In some cases, promoters have gone further and actually stolen the entire balance or exploited member’s identity data for other criminal purposes.

If you think that you are dealing with illegal early release activity, contact the ATO on 13 10 20.

Media Contact: Chris Zogopoulos 9790 2466