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Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Page: 9610


Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (13:17): by leave—I move Liberal Democratic Party amendments (1) to (3) to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 1) Bill 2017 on sheet 8317 revised together:

(1) Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, insert:

4 Review of operation of amendments

(1) The Minister must cause an independent review of the operation of the amendments made by this Act.

(2) The review must:

(a) start as soon as practicable after 18 months after Royal Assent; and

(b) be completed within 6 months.

(3) The Minister must cause a written report about the review to be prepared.

(4) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which the report is given to the Minister.

(5) The report is not a legislative instrument.

(2) Schedule 1, item 1, page 5 (after line 7), after subsection 138-10(2), insert:

(2A) If the Commissioner determines that you have suffered a financial hardship, you are taken to have satisfied paragraph (2)(a).

(2B) The regulations may specify the circumstances in which the Commissioner is to determine that a person has suffered a financial hardship for the purposes of subsection (2A).

(3) Schedule 1, item 1, page 5 (lines 16 to 19), omit section 138-15, substitute:

138-15 Review

If you are dissatisfied with:

(a) a *first home super saver determination in relation to you; or

(b) a decision the Commissioner makes not to make a determination under subsection 138-10(2A);

you may object against the determination, or the decision, as the case requires, in the manner set out in Part IVC.

The government's First Home Super Saver Scheme allows taxpayers to make one withdrawal in their lifetime from their voluntary superannuation contributions to purchase their first and only home. Item 2 of my amendments provides an exemption to the requirement it be a first home. The exemption will apply if the tax commissioner determines that the taxpayer has suffered financial hardship, the circumstances of which can be determined by regulation. I envisage that regulations would refer to circumstances where a taxpayer has limited savings, is currently renting and had an interest in a home many years ago in a cheaper real estate market or when a taxpayer was in a relationship that has since broken down. Taxpayers will still be limited to one withdrawal of their voluntary superannuation in their lifetime and it must be for their only home. This amendment will help people who are struggling to leave the rental market and buy their own home in the face of high property prices. The fact that they once owned their own home, possibly some decades ago, does not make their struggle any less stressful.

Item 3 of my amendments allows taxpayers to object if they are dissatisfied with a decision of the commissioner ruling that the taxpayer has not suffered financial hardship, and item 1 requires a review of this bill's First Home Super Saver Scheme and downsizer reform. My view is that taxpayers should be able to withdraw more of their voluntary superannuation contributions in more circumstances. I would also hope that it would recommend that more people can put more of the proceeds from the sale of a house into superannuation. I commend my amendments to the Senate.