Few Aussies save early withdrawn super

Superannuation withdrawals of up to $20,000 were used to pay the mortgage and rent during lockdown.
Superannuation withdrawals of up to $20,000 were used to pay the mortgage and rent during lockdown.

Just one in eight Australians who were able to tap their superannuation during the COVID-19 pandemic stuck the money in their savings account.

A survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found in the main the withdrawals of up to $20,000 were used to pay the mortgage, the rent or other household bills.

The Morrison government allowed people who were suffering hardship as a result of the pandemic to access $10,000 from their super account before June last year and a further $10,000 in the following months.

The ABS survey found 29 per cent of people who accessed the scheme by September 2020 used it to pay the mortgage or rent, while 27 per cent used it for household bills.

Another 15 per cent paid their credit card or personal debts, while only 13 per cent added it to their savings.

"The early release of super scheme was an overwhelming success and proved a lifeline in a period of financial uncertainty," Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume told AAP.

"The Morrison government acted decisively in the national interest to support households and businesses and address the significant economic consequences of the COVID-19."

ABS director of household economic resource surveys Dean Adams said those people who accessed the scheme twice, the average total amount withdrawn was $17,441.

"The average single withdrawal was $7728 for the first opportunity, and $7536 for the second," he said.

Commonwealth Securities chief economist Craig James said while the September quarter survey was a little dated, the figures do provide further comfort about the financial position of Australian families.

The survey found around one-in-five households had someone receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy through their employer or in their own business.

Half of these households had a mortgage, while almost half were couples with dependent children.

More than 1.3 million households contained someone receiving the coronavirus supplement in the September quarter, which was $550 per fortnight at the time and a top-up to the JobSeeker dole payment.

The JobKeeper and the JobSeeker supplement schemes both ended in March.

Australian Associated Press