Government dumps plan for women to use super to escape domestic violence

Minister for Women Marise Payne. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Minister for Women Marise Payne. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The government has dumped a plan for women escaping domestic violence to be able to dip into their superannuation to fund new starts, the Minister for Women has confirmed.

Speaking to a Senate estimates committee on Monday evening, Minister for Women Marise Payne said the decision had been made on Monday.

"We have been considering the feedback that has been received from stakeholders including domestic and family violence experts, a number of superannuation funds, industry bodies, legal groups, those sorts of stakeholders," Senator Payne said.

"There was support for the measure from some, but also a number of stakeholders who raised concerns that the measure would disproportionately affect victims and survivors of domestic violence compared to perpetrators."

Senator Payne said it would also be difficult to ensure there was ready access to funds through early release, while also having appropriate protections to prevent financial abuse and coercion.

The government was committed to closing the gap between men and women's retirement savings, Senator Payne said.

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Originally announced in the 2018 budget, the policy to give women escaping domestic violence was given more publicity last week when Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume referred to the policy in a television interview, promising the regulations would have integrity measures.

"Getting the balance right between those integrity measures, between allowing women to access their money if they need it, has been really difficult," she told Sky News on Tuesday.

"I think we've hit the nail on the head but we want to make sure stakeholders are engaged."

By Question Time on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the policy was under review

"We are listening to those concerns, Mr Speaker, and that measure is under review," he said.

On Monday, Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, the party's spokeswoman on the prevention of violence against women tweeted "the concerns stakeholders raised last week were the same as the ones they raised in the 2018 consultation".

"The government needs to explain why it's taken them 3 yrs to realise that women shouldn't have to choose between leaving a violent relationship & security in retirement."

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This story Government dumps plan for women to use super to escape domestic violence first appeared on The Canberra Times.