The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Helen Coonan

Helen Coonan

Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer

26 November 2001 - 17 July 2004

Media Release of 08/05/2003

C033/03

8 May 2003

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS CLOSING THE GAP BETWEEN PENSION AGE AND SUPERANNUATION ACCESS AGE

The Federal Government has already instituted measures to close the gap between the preservation age for superannuation and the age at which people are eligible for the aged pension, the Minister for Finance and Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan.

Senator Coonan said this action was consistent with the call today by the Financial Planning Association's submission to the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation for the Federal government to link the age that consumers can access lump sum superannuation to the age at which Australians are eligibile for the aged pension.

"The Government is opposed to people frittering away money set aside for retirement and then seeking to double dip into the pension when they reach the required age, " Senator Coonan said.

The preservation age for superannuation is currently being progressively raised. It will move from 55 to 60 between the years 2015 and 2025 which will reduce the opportunity to double dip.

"The nature of superannuation requires long term decision making. It would be unreasonable to make sharp rises in the preservation age," Senator Coonan said.

The Government provides significant tax and social security incentives to encourage retirees to purchase income stream products for their retirement.

"There are appropriate restrictions in place on the release of superannuation monies to ensure superannuation is used to provide genuine retirement incomes and is not dissipated earlier," Senator Coonan said.