Australians have no idea about this government scheme

  • By Lucas Baird

Most Australian's have no knowledge of the government scheme allowing first home buyers to dip into their super to secure a housing deposit, and those who have heard of the program are generally misinformed. 

This is the result of a new Gateway Bank commissioned survey into the Turnbull government's controversial First Home Super Saver Scheme which passed parliament late last year. 

After the legislation passed, treasurer Scott Morrison lauded the program as a "significant leg-up" for first home buyers saving for their deposit. 

But that leg-up appears to have been nullified by the 55 per cent of Australian's who have never heard of the program. 

"The scheme is a good idea in principle but in order to make a real impact, the government and industry needs to take action" said Gateway Bank chief executive Paul Thomas.

Misinformed public 

The survey, carried out by YouGov Galaxy, also found some who were aware of the program had misleading information on it. 

14 per cent thought that you could withdraw ten per cent of the value of the property from your super fund; 16 per cent thought you must repay what you withdrew if you sell your house within 2 years; 11 per cent thought parents could do the same to help out the first home buyer; and 11 per cent thought it could be used on investment properties. 

In actual fact, an individual can contribute up to $30,000 into their super specifically for saving for a home which much be the dwelling they live in. 

"The government and industry needs to take action to ensure the public is not only aware of the scheme but are also educated on how they can take practical steps to take advantage of the initiative," Thomas said. 

Across generations the level of knowledge was generally even. 30 per cent of Gen X were aware of the program, compared to 34 per cent of Millennials, and 36 per cent of Baby Boomers. 

"When it comes to policy and the property market, there is an assumption that millennials have become disengaged," Thomas said. "However, despite the nationwide rise in property prices, I believe younger generations are still hoping to enter the property market at some point in their lives, and are interested when relevant initiatives are introduced."

Thomas had one suggestion for increasing awareness and emphasised the need for industry and government to work together.

"The key to success, in my opinion, is an early intervention approach to education."

"This could be done in several ways. For example, by providing opportunities for young people to attend educational workshops and seminars."