The government is underestimating the “perverse consequences” of making changes to superannuation, such as a surge in property investment, according to one industry lawyer.
Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers special counsel for superannuation, Michael Hallinan, told SMSF Adviser there is a real danger that any negative change to superannuation will “heighten people’s disquiet or disinterest in super” resulting in them “redirecting their money to the last remaining tax haven, which is their family home”.
With the threat of changes, people will be less inclined to think of superannuation as a good long-term investment and so they will invest elsewhere, he said.
“I think it’ll have perverse effects. I think it will see less money going into super, with SG contributions being the only money going in,” said Mr Hallinan.
“If you’re not investing money in super it will either go into consumption or it will go into the family home, which may have long-term negative consequences anyway. It will beat up prices and lead people to build bigger homes.”
Mr Hallinan said it looks certain the government will make at least one or more changes to superannuation because if it had no intention of doing so, the government would be stating it emphatically, so as to avoid speculation.
“I think they’re allowing speculation to run on to assess what is an acceptable level of pain,” he said.
The agitation for these changes is being driven by emotion rather than hard thinking, he added.
“I also think people are vastly overstating the amount of foregone revenue arising from superannuation,” he said.
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