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Issue 748, 9 April 2020 
In this issue: 


COVID-19 Coronavirus: new compassionate ground for early release of super 

As reported in ASFA Action issues 747, 746, 745, 743 and 742, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 provides for a new compassionate ground for the early release of superannuation for those impacted by the pandemic. Individuals seeking release of their superannuation under the new compassionate ground will be required to apply directly to the ATO. 

The ATO has now published a sample of the data file it will send to funds once it has approved payments under the new ground, along with details of its physical specification. 

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package – Early Release of Super – Guide v1.0.0 is available on the Software Developers website. 

The guide is intended to assist funds and/or their intermediaries when receiving files for the Coronavirus early release of superannuation. Funds and/or their intermediaries will need to download the file via the Business Portal, which is made available by the file transfer functionality, and process the information provided by the ATO. 

The Government has announced that it will be extending eligibility for the Coronavirus compassionate ground, as follows: 

In line with changes being made for Australian citizens and permanent residents, most temporary visa holders with work rights will now be able to access their Australian superannuation to help support themselves during this crisis. 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: release authority statements and end benefit notices 

The ATO has advised that, to assist superannuation funds and administrators during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has introduced an alternative approach for funds to meet their lodgment obligations for a range of notices. 

According to CRT Alert 011/2020, the ATO is now providing an electronic lodgment option for First Home Super Saver Scheme, Division 293 and Excess Contributions Release Authority Statements and End Benefit Notices. 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: JobKeeper payment 

As reported in ASFA Action issue 746, the Government has announced that it will introduce, as part of its COVID-19 economic support package, a wage subsidy for eligible employers and employees. The subsidy will be known as JobKeeper. 

On 8 April, the Government introduced into Parliament two bills relevant to the JobKeeper payment. 

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Bill 2020 creates a framework for the Commissioner of Taxation to provide financial support to assist businesses and their employees through the downturn caused by the pandemic. The JobKeeper payment is intended to be delivered under this framework. In broad terms, the Bill: 

Details of eligibility for particular payments, as well as the amount of payments and the time when they are to be paid, are to be set out in the rules made by the Treasurer. 

The payments to be made by the Commissioner may only be made from the date the legislation commences (the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent) and must relate to the period from 1 March to 31 December 2020. 

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. 2): 

The amendments to the Fair Work Act are time-limited and will automatically be repealed on 28 September 2020. 

The Bills do not contain any provisions specific to the superannuation treatment of payments under the JobKeeper subsidy. As noted in ASFA Action issue 746, a Treasury factsheet indicates that whether Superannuation Guarantee is payable will depend on factors including whether the JobKeeper payment is used by the employer to subsidise an employee’s existing earnings level or to increase their earnings, or is paid in circumstances where the employee has been stood down without pay and is not performing work-related duties for the employer. 

The Bills were passed by Parliament on 8 April. 



COVID-19 Coronavirus: APRA suspends issue of new licences 

APRA has announced that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is temporarily suspending the issuance of new APRA licences, except in the rare case that the granting of a licence is necessary for APRA to carry out its mandate. 

APRA has noted that: “Experience has shown that it is challenging for new entrants to succeed even under normal economic conditions, which is why APRA does not consider it prudent to license APRA-regulated entities at this time.” 

APRA will keep its approach under review as the operating environment stabilises and will advise current applicants when the granting of licences will restart. However, APRA expects this temporary hold could last at least six months and delay APRA licences by at least this timeframe. During this time, APRA will continue to assess current licence applications so the delay on launching when the hold is lifted is minimised. 




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

and other regulatory announcements relevant to superannuation.

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