Coalition announces $300,000 super concession for over-55s who sell home

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Ahead of Coalition’s official campaign launch Scott Morrison also pledges to double the time pensioners have to structure assets after home sale

Australians over the age of 55 will be able to plow $300,000 into superannuation from the sale of their home, under a policy announced ahead of the Coalition campaign launch.

On Sunday Scott Morrison announced that up to 1.3m more empty nesters and pensioners would be able to access incentives that are designed to help people downsize to improve housing supply.

However, downsizer rules do not require people who sell to purchase a smaller home, meaning the measure is in effect a further non-concessional boost to super for those who sell their primary residence if they have owned for 10 or more years.

Under current rules, over-65s are restricted from making large lump sum contributions to super. The age for downsizer contributions was already set to fall to 60 on 1 July.

The Coalition has also pledged to double the amount of time pensioners have to structure their assets after sale of a home to two years, at a cost of $62m over four years. That measure will take effect from 1 January. About 1.9m aged pensioners are homeowners who are eligible.

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On Sunday Morrison will officially launch the Coalition campaign in Brisbane, just six days out from the election.

Trailing 54% to 46% in two-party preferred terms in the latest Newspoll, Morrison’s campaign is flagging in the home stretch after Anthony Albanese’s early campaign gaffes over key economic indicators gave the Coalition renewed hope of a fourth term.

On Friday Morrison attempted a campaign pivot, suggesting that the Covid-19 pandemic and negotiating security agreements in the last term of government had required him to be “a bit of a bulldozer” but things would “change” if re-elected.

Morrison is yet to outline a specific program of what can or needs to change.

At a press conference in Ringwood on Saturday, Morrison answered a question on that point with a homily about how the “Morrison men … go in and fix things” without being aware of unspecified “sensitivities”.

Morrison then listed investments the government had made in flood recovery and women’s safety, but did not specify any new policy direction for the government.

“I will seek to … explain my motives and my concerns and empathise a lot more. But I tell you what, at the end of the day, what matters most is I get the job done.”

Morrison said he had waited until the later stage of the campaign to promise change because “over the course of the last two years, we’ve been all locked up in Canberra” and the government had been dealing with “existential crises”.

On Sunday Anthony Albanese committed to match the government’s “modest announcement” on facilitating downsizing.

Labor frontbenchers Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek, the party’s former leader and deputy leader, publicly doubted the utility of the proposal:

Morrison said the housing policy changes would give “Australians more choice to decide how they want to live the next stage of their life by removing financial barriers for people wanting to downsize their home”.

“By removing barriers for Australians downsizing to residences that better suit their needs and lifestyle, we are helping to free up larger homes for younger families.”

The minister for superannuation, Jane Hume, said: “This is another in a line of reforms to make super more flexible when you need it most.”

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