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Issue 751, 17 April 2020 
In this issue: 


COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – extension to eligible temporary residents 

In ASFA Action issue 747, we reported that the Government had indicated its intention to extend the Coronavirus compassionate ground for early release of superannuation to “most temporary visa holders with work rights”. 

The Government has now registered regulations to give effect to this change. 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Release of Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds) Regulations 2020 amend the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 to allow temporary residents affected by the adverse economic effects of coronavirus to have up to $10,000 released from their superannuation or retirement savings account on compassionate grounds. The Regulations build on the amendments introduced into the SIS Regulations by the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020, which established such grounds of early release for Australian citizens and permanent residents (see ASFA Action issue 745). 

Temporary residents are only able to satisfy certain conditions of release, which are listed in regulation 6.01B of the SIS Regulations. Prior to the amendments made in the Regulations, generally temporary residents would be precluded from satisfying the conditions of release relating to the compassionate grounds for coronavirus-related economic effects. 

The Regulations allow temporary residents to satisfy the conditions of release relating to these grounds: 

The regulations also include equivalent amendment to the Retirement Savings Accounts Regulations 1997. 

The application of the Coronavirus early release provisions to temporary residents differs from its application to citizens and permanent residents in one important respect—eligible temporary residents will be able to access the Coronavirus early release only once. The explanatory material states: 

Temporary residents may only make an application for release in the financial year ending 30 June 2020. Temporary residents may only apply for one payment of up to $10,000. 

In contrast, Australian citizens and permanent residents may apply for two payments of up to $10,000 each in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 financial years. 

The Regulations commence today, 17 April. 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – updated ATO information 

The ATO has provided updated information on the application and payment process for the Coronavirus compassionate ground early release of superannuation. 

CRT 015/2020 notes the new regulations extending the early release to eligible temporary residents (see above item in this issue of ASFA Action) and indicates that: 

There is no change to the way funds will be notified of these determinations or the treatment of the amounts released. It will be the same as the original coronavirus early release of super categories. 

The ATO has also provided screenshots of the individual application process, so funds have visibility of the individual’s experience and are better able to prepare communication material or engage with their members. CRT 015/2020 also addresses the security controls around the application process. 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – updated AML/CTF guidance 

As reported in yesterday’s ASFA Action (issue 750), AUSTRAC has registered the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Amendment Instrument 2020 (No. 1) to ensure funds making payments to their members under the new Coronavirus compassionate ground for early release of super would not have to conduct additional customer verification under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF). 

The explanatory material accompanying the instrument noted that trustees would still have suspicious matter reporting and ongoing customer due diligence obligations relating to the benefit payment. 

Today, AUSTRAC published some additional guidance for funds about complying with these obligations. 

The guidance addresses ongoing customer due diligence, enhanced customer due diligence and suspicious matter reporting obligations. It provides a number of illustrative scenarios to help funds manage situations involving discrepancies with customer information and certain customer behaviours. It notes that funds “may adopt other approaches to achieve the same or a similar outcome”. The illustrative scenarios cover situations where: 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: Parliament to sit in May – potential scope to consider super bills 

The Prime Minister has indicated that he intends to recall Parliament for a ‘trial week’ during May, to address what he has described as its normal legislative business, as opposed to focusing purely on COVID-19 economic support measures. 

While the Prime Minister did not provide any detail, it is possible that this will give scope for Parliament to progress some of the outstanding superannuation-related bills, including: 




ASFA’s Regulatory Watchlist (ARW) tracks developments in Legislation, inquiries, consultations

and other regulatory announcements relevant to superannuation.

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