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Thursday, 15 September 2011
Page: 6215

Senator CORMANN (Western Australia) (13:42): The coalition supports the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Early Release of Superannuation) Bill 2011. This bill deals with the administration of the early release of superannuation on compas­sionate grounds. It transfers the respon­sibility for administration of the early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds from APRA and the ATO to the Chief Executive Officer of Medicare, and it also effectively transfers the relevant component of fees currently collected from APRA regulated funds to cover the cost of administering the early release of super­annuation by Medicare. The rationale for the transfer from APRA and the ATO to Medicare that is given in the explanatory memorandum is that this scheme is best administered by an agency that has other elements of income support and efficient customer support infrastructure. The Department of Human Services is best placed to perform this role, and APRA and Medicare came to an agreement by delegation on 3 February 2011 to do this.

I stress that there is no change to the rules around early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds in this legislation. The bill does enable recovery of the fees for administering early release from funds. This fee already exists and is levied from superannuation funds for APRA's manage­ment of early release. In future these fees will be collected on behalf of Medicare. All of this makes sense because of course the taxpayer should not have to pay the costs of this scheme. As I have mentioned, the coalition supports this bill.