Nearly 800,000 Australians have requested early release of part of their superannuation savings to tide them over financial hardship during the COVID-19 economic shutdown.The number is more than twice the account holders (361,000) who have accessed their super prematurely over the past five years, taking out an average A$8,000 (€4,600), or A$2.9bn in total.The nation’s largest super fund, AustralianSuper, expects to receive requests – through the Australian Taxation Office, which is tasked with processing early release requests – from more than 300,000 members.Such is demand for early release that questions have been raised about the ability of some funds to meet their obligations. There have even been suggestions that the government might have to step in by issuing special bonds to create liquidity. Some conservative politicians blame the cash squeeze on industry funds for having invested heavily in illiquid assets, such as infrastructure and property.The Australian Treasury estimates that 1% of super fund members who have lost their jobs are likely to seek early release of around $27bn. The unemployment rate rose to 5.2% in Australia today.Australia’s leading research house on the super industry, Rainmaker, has concluded that there is A$946bn in cash and bonds in Australia’s superannuation pool.Alex Dunnin, Rainmaker’s executive director of research and compliance, told IPE: “There is more liquidity in superannuation than we realise, which is the point the government made when it announced its early super release policy.”Should what he called a “liquidity-smoothing mechanism” be necessary, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, The Future Fund, could be recruited. This fund, he said, was sitting on the sidelines with $37bn in cash and bonds.“It is not a super fund, It is a fiscal fund with just one stakeholder, the national government, so it has much more flexibility than do superannuation funds.”Rainmaker’s analysis shows that, if just 1% of members choose to go for early release, this would be manageable, assuming all funds were equally impacted.“Initially, many in superannuation thought this measure would impact funds with young members or lots of low account balances, but, on reflection, this view is simplistic,” Dunnin said.“This is because these accounts, in reality, are a very small share of those funds’ assets.”The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority today issued guidance requiring funds to process approved claims within five working days.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.
NZ Herald 19 November 2017Preschoolers entered in contest involving catwalks and photo shoots.Kiwi kids as young as 3 have been entered into a new modelling competition where the winners travel to China for an international event which has a swimwear segment.Organisers say about 80 children are registered for the first New Zealand Super Kids & Teens Model Competition.Although the age requirement for entry is 4, an organiser told the Herald on Sunday they were accepting 3-year-old applicants who would be turning 4 before the finals in February.Critics are slamming the event saying modelling competitions are not child-friendly and cautioned about sexualising children.However, Parenting Place creative and development director Dave Atkinson, who has worked with young people in the field of resilience and mental health, said child modelling set off “serious alarm bells”.“Young people are exposed to an unprecedented amount of advertising and media every day, most of which has a very strong underlying message that ‘your value is based on your achievements, fame, or beauty’,” Atkinson said.“As parents it is our responsibility to protect our children from these ideas for as long as possible and to build a healthy sense of belonging and identity that goes far beyond their appearance.”Atkinson added: “One of the saddest beliefs a young person can grow up with is that they are significant or loved because they are beautiful.”Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie maintains catwalk training, photo-posing and modelling should be restricted to grown-ups.“There are no redeeming factors about child modelling and beauty pageants … they receive the message that their value is in their appearance and associated with sexualised standards,” McCoskrie said.“A premature interest in a sexy appearance, an obsession about body image for a 4-year-old and an undermining of the social prohibition against seeing children as sexual objects and sexually attractive are all huge warning flags.”READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=11944563&ref=twitter
An Oakland County man has been charged with multiple sexual assault crimes after police say his son found child porn on his tablet.Michigan State Police troopers responded to a home in Oakland County, Michigan for a report of a runaway.Police say when they got in contact with the boy, he informed them about the child porn on his father’s tabelet.Officials arrested 43-year-old Jeremy David McCallum, after searching the home and finding “large amounts of evidence” of child porn.McCallum was arraigned in Genesee County on 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of felony firearm, one count of child sexual abuse, one count of extortion and one count assault with a dangerous weapon.Police contacted child protective services and the boy was put in the care of other family members.