Government has “no plans” to change super system, says Frydenberg; Former director to stand trial on SMSF fraud charges: Midday Roundup

Government has “no plans” to change super system, says Frydenberg; Former director to stand trial on SMSF fraud charges: Midday Roundup

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has distanced the federal government from any move to allow first home buyers to access their superannuation before the preservation age, telling an event in Melbourne on Wednesday the government has “no plans to change the rules”.

Business Spectator reports Frydenberg told the audience at the Victorian State Library making the super system more flexible is “an interesting discussion” but that is all it is at this stage.

“Joe Hockey has not said that we’re about to do it, I’m not saying we’re about to do it, the Prime Minister has said we’re not about to do it,” Frydenberg said.

The Assistant Treasurer’s comments come as Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled the use of superannuation savings as a “shock absorber” during the working lives of Australians as a “thoroughly bad idea”, reports Fairfax.

“That is not what the superannuation system is designed to achieve,” Turnbull said yesterday.

“Housing affordability is a big issue in Australia but, as we have demonstrated over many studies over many years, this is a supply side problem.”

The proposal has attracted criticism from former treasurer Peter Costello and former prime minister Paul Keating, who said it would “destroy universal retirement savings at its core”.


Former director to stand trial on SMSF fraud charges


A former company director has been ordered to stand trial on seven counts of fraudulent misappropriation following a recent committal hearing in Bathurst Local Court in New South Wales.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleges Steven William Hill induced self-managed super fund owners and other investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a Queensland ‘house and land’ property development.

The alleged incidents took place between January 5, 2006, and March 6, 2007, through Hill’s role in Hill Stephens and Associates and International Finance Consortium, with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuting the case.

ASIC claims investors never received the returns promised and that $431,000 of the invested funds were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Hill and other third parties.

The matter is set to return to court on May 1, when the Bathurst District Court will set a trial date.


Shares up on open


Aussie shares have traded higher this morning, following a mixed lead from Wall Street overnight.

Tristan K’Nell, head of trading at Quay Equities, said in a statement investors showed little cautiousness ahead of the release of February employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed a slight decline in the headline unemployment rate to 6.3%.

“Market turnover into lunch was decent at $1.649 billion,” said K’Nell.

“The market was doing well to outperform given another day of ex-dividends. This afternoon, expect the market to drift sideways with the possibility of a little selling with the market running too hard in the morning session.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 51.1 points to 5844.3 points at 12.12pm AEDT. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed 27.55 points lower, down 0.16% to 17635.4 points.


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