Scott Morrison has told voters he wants to give individuals an opportunity to buy their own home, in the first press conference since he announced the policy at the weekend.
The prime minister said Labor did not want individuals to be empowered to use their superannuation money how they pleased.
“They think it’s their money to tell you what to do with,” Morrison said of Labor’s position on superannuation funds.
The superannuation system was designed to augment the age pension for income in retirement.
“I believe it’s your money and to get access to your own money to help you buy a house. The only way to achieve that is to vote Liberal and National next Saturday,” Morrison said.
Should the government be returned to power, the Super Home Buyer Scheme will commence on 1 July 2023.
The policy was unveiled at the Liberal party campaign launch on Sunday, where the PM said first-home buyers could use up to 40% of their superannuation (and a maximum of up to $50,000) to purchase a home sooner.
People eligible to participate in the scheme must have saved 5% of the deposit for their property purchase.
“The scheme will apply to both new and existing homes, with the invested amount to be returned to their superannuation fund when the house is sold, including a share of any capital gain,” Morrison said in a statement.
“This means that a person’s super is harnessed to purchase a first home while also protecting their long-term savings plan for retirement.”
The PM told a press pack on Monday his policy had been carefully considered and was based on the view people who owned their home at retirement age were better-off.
The LNP has calculated the policy can help first-home buyers afford the purchase of a home three years earlier than if they otherwise saved using ordinary means.
“Our plan makes it easier for first-home buyers to save for a deposit, reducing the time people need to pay rent, and also means a smaller mortgage with less debt and smaller repayments,” Morrison said.
The PM responded to questions about Australia’s insufficient housing supply and whether his scheme would drive up growing house prices further by arguing that together with the LNP’s new ‘downsizing’ policy, more housing stock would be available. The downsizing policy offers a $300,000 superannuation concession for people aged over-55 who choose to sell a primary residence they have owned for 10 years or more.
“That means putting downward pressure on what is otherwise rising pressure. The number one issue that forces up housing prices in this country is insufficient supply,” Morrison said.
“When you look at the proportion of first-home buyers of the entire real estate market, it’s quite marginal,” he said, adding he did not believe more first-home buyers would push housing prices up drastically.
Morrison turned 54 this month.