Almost one million Australians have expressed an interest in getting immediate access to retirement savings through an emergency coronavirus measure.

The Morrison government is allowing eligible people to take up to $20,000 out of their superannuation to help cope with economic stress.

Applications have officially opened after 975,000 people registered interest in participating in the scheme.

Assistant Superannuation Minister Jane Hume said the high numbers reflected the scale of the economic crisis.

“Of course that’s a concern,” she told Sky News on Tuesday.

“That’s nearly a million Australians that are concerned about their financially viability, their financial future, that are concerned about their jobs and paying a mortgage.”

The government estimates up to 1.7 million Australians will access early super, with two rounds in which $10,000 will be available.


Senator Hume said people should consider their circumstances carefully before making a decision.

“We’re certainly not encouraging people to take up the offer, but we are giving them the offer to make an assessment about their own financial situation, their own family budget,” she said.

But she disputed some “pretty wild” numbers being floated about dire repercussions for people’s retirement outcomes.

Unemployed, welfare recipients, people made redundant since the start of the year and those who have had a 20 per cent reduction in hours are eligible.

Sole traders who have had their business suspended or copped a 20 per cent reduction in turnover can also access super early.


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