Whatever happened to the First Home Super Saver Scheme?

Angus Kidman 13 November 2017 NEWS

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Legislation for the much-discussed plan finally hits Parliament this week.

One of the key policies announced at Budget 2017 was the First Home Super Saver Scheme, an initiative which would let potential first home buyers salt away extra money at tax-advantaged rates in their super and then draw on it when they needed a deposit. But since the May announcement, there has been virtually no further talk of the scheme. What gives?

As it turns out, the legislation hasn't yet been introduced to Parliament, reminding us that there's a big difference between announcing a policy and enacting it. And the plan isn't guaranteed smooth sailing, particularly in the Senate, where Fairfax media reports, with cross-benchers Jacquie Lambie, Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm all expressing objections to the legislation in its current form.

To ensure its passage, the Coalition will need support from both One Nation and the Nick Xenophon team. Given the various other distractions dominating Canberra this week (citizenship eligibility rumbles and the marriage equality survey coming to the fore), it seems rather unlikely that we'll see any action, especially as there are only two weeks of the sitting year remaining.

So what will happen if the scheme does eventually pass? It was due to take effect from 1 July 2017. While it might technically be backdated, savers will only be able to begin passing money into their superannuation funds (and ask their employers for a salary sacrifice arrangement) once the legislation passes. That will provide an additional avenue for potential buyers to save for a deposit, with up to $15,000 a year allowed to be diverted into super (on top of compulsory contributions, which don't change). Government figures estimate it could increase a deposit size by 30%. Even if it only achieved a tenth of that goal, it would be more effective than most savings accounts right now. But whether that happens is now up to the Senate.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.

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