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Early release update: ATO fraud report & more
The ATO has detected around 100 instances of members having personal details unlawfully used in a bid to defraud the early release program, with the Australian Federal Police called in to investigate.
The ATO has reported that the attempts have been stopped and the impacted individuals are being contacted.
The ATO has stressed that its online systems have not been compromised or hacked.
Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones noted in a press conference that the Federal Opposition and several superannuation industry bodies had raised concerns about serious security risks, lack of verification processes and susceptibility to fraud associated with the administration of early release.
Early release figures updated
The number of applications for early release of superannuation has risen to more than 1 million according to the latest ATO figures, with the assistant minister for superannuation, Jane Hume, reporting in the media that 1,105,837 million applications have been approved, releasing $9.1 billion in superannuation, with an average withdrawal of $8829.
AUSTRAC amends ID rules
Meanwhile, AUSTRAC has amended its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules to assist reporting entities to meet their customer identification obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment relates to the procedure to follow where a customer cannot provide satisfactory evidence of identity.
Funds provide early release insight
Ahead of APRA releasing its fund-level early release data next week, a number of funds have provided updates on their payments.
Retail industry fund, Rest, has paid 100,385 members $693.4 million as part of the early release scheme, averaging 12,500 payments or $90 million per business day.
Highlighting the enormous challenge that funds have faced, Rest CEO, Vicki Doyle, said Rest would typically receive about 100 applications per week for early release. However, in the first week of the Government’s broadened early release scheme, the fund received around 65,000 applications.
Prime Minister’s Office seeks input into return to workplace plans
Treasury contacted AIST this week regarding interest from the Prime Minister’s office in what steps various industries have taken to ensure they are ready to operate in a ‘Covid Safe Economy’.
Input is being sought from the super industry on the steps being taken to expedite work to strengthen workplace health and safety so restrictions can be relaxed.
AIST is canvassing input from our members for discussion with Treasury on Friday 8 May.
PSSAP Bill slated for May parliament sitting
The Bill to extend membership of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP) to certain current and former Commonwealth employees in order to accommodate choice of fund measures is scheduled for debate in parliament on 14 May.
As previously reported in Policy News, the Superannuation Amendment (PSSAP Membership) Bill 2020 will further expand the circumstances in which a former PSSAP member can use their existing PSSAP account in respect of any employment.
COVID-19 impacts on business confidence
Nearly three quarters (72%) of Australian businesses have reported that reduced cash flow is expected to have an adverse impact on business over the next two months, according to ABS data.
The ABS survey on Business Impacts of COVID-19 found that a reduced demand for goods and services is expected to impact seven in ten businesses (69%), while two in five businesses (41%) say they will face challenges in paying operating expenses.
On JobKeeper registrations, the ABS found that three in five (61%) businesses had registered or intended to register for the scheme.
However, of the businesses that did not intend to register for the JobKeeper scheme, 55% reported that it was because the business was not eligible, with less than one in ten (7%) not registering due to insufficient cash flow to continue paying staff before JobKeeper payments commence.