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Issue 753, 4 May 2020
In this issue: 

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – first APRA data published 

APRA has this morning published its first industry-level data related to benefits paid to members through the Government’s COVID-19 temporary early release of superannuation initiative. 

As reported in ASFA Action issue 752, superannuation trustees were asked to submit data to APRA on a weekly basis covering the number and value of early release benefits paid to superannuation members and the processing times of those payments. 

For the week ending on 26 April, all 167 funds that APRA requested data from regarding early release payments provided it to APRA, although not all funds had received applications from the ATO or paid benefits to members during the week. 

APRA’s initial publication of data shows that in the first week of the initiative, superannuation trustees: 

APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell noted that trustees are legally required to make early release payments to eligible members ‘as soon as practicable’. She said APRA expects trustees should generally be able to achieve this within five business days, although this may not be practicable in all cases, as trustees conduct fraud checks, and fulfil their legal obligation to look out for the best interests of all fund members. Mrs Rowell said “APRA is closely monitoring trustee performance in this area and will consider taking appropriate action if evidence emerges of funds not releasing benefits to eligible members as soon as practicable”. 

APRA intends to publish updated data every Monday and will expand the publication next week to include fund-level data. 

 

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – temporary residents and ATO update 

In ASFA Action issue 751, we reported that the Government had made regulations extending the Coronavirus compassionate ground for early release of superannuation to most temporary residents. 

The extension, in Treasury Laws Amendment (Release of Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds) Regulations 2020, applied to allow early release applications: 

The Government has now registered the Treasury Laws Amendment (Release of Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds) Regulations (No. 2) 2020. These replace the early access eligibility criteria noted above for subclass 457 and 482 visa holders. Subclass 457 and 482 visa holders will now only be able to apply for early release if they are employed and unable to meet immediate living expenses. 

The ATO has issued CRT Alert 022/2020, updating its questions and answers on the early release initiative. 

 

 

Modern Slavery Act: COVID-19 reporting deferral and guidance 

As outlined in ASFA Action issue 706, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 came into force on 1 January 2019 and established a reporting requirement for certain large businesses and entities, including many superannuation funds. The Government has previously issued guidance for reporting entities on complying with their obligations (see ASFA Action issue 723). 

In particular, the Act requires entities to submit modern slavery statements to the Australian Border Force within six months after the end of their reporting periods. For entities with a financial year ending 30 June 2020, the legislated deadline for the statement is 31 December 2020. 

To support reporting entities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to meet their obligations under the Act, the Government has announced a three-month extension to the reporting deadline for all entities whose reporting periods end on or before 30 June 2020. Under this extension, statements for the financial year ending 30 June 2020 will now be due by 31 March 2021. 

The Australian Border Force has also published some information for reporting entities that addresses how reporting entities may: 

 

 

ASFA REGULATORY WATCHLIST

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

and other regulatory announcements relevant to superannuation.

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