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Financial regulator APRA given just 24 hours to advise on early super access

Australia’s financial regulator has revealed it was given less than 24 hours to provide advice on the first draft of the Morrison government’s early super access scheme.

Under intense grilling from Labor senator Kristina Keneally in a Senate committee hearing on Thursday, APRA deputy chair Helen Rowell admitted the government gave it a “same day” deadline to assess its proposal on March 18.

After one round of revisions, the government publicly announced the scheme just four days later – a rapid process that Senator Keneally characterised as being driven more by speed than compliance.

“We were given a very high-level verbal outline of what the features of the scheme were … [and] asked to give our view of the implications of the scheme from a superannuation system perspective,” Ms Rowell said of the government’s approach on March 18.

Only “internal discussions” took place, with little time to canvass opinions from super funds, the ATO or Treasury, she said.

When asked whether the government had informed APRA of future measures like JobKeeper before asking the regulator to provide advice on the early super access scheme, Ms Rowell said: “No.”