Regulatory reforms are needed to allow superannuation funds to scale up their investment in affordable housing, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
AIST said infrastructure, energy, and affordable housing were areas where super savings could be invested on a large scale to drive Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
AIST chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck, said limited land availability and unfavourable tax implications made it difficult for funds to scale up their investment in housing.
“Barely a week goes by these days without one commentator or another suggesting that Australians should be allowed to tap into mandatory super savings to buy their first home,” she said.
“Aside from the negative impact this would have people’s retirement incomes, it does nothing to address the root cause of Australia’s housing affordability problem, which is lack of supply.
“Turning housing into an asset class that could provide institutional investors with a competitive return would not only be a watershed for housing affordability in this country, it would create jobs to assist the recovery while providing strong investment outcomes for the millions of Australians who invest through superannuation funds.”
On energy, Scheerlinck said there was an opportunity to create jobs and reduce final energy demand through the large-scale green retrofitting of existing major building assets, particularly office buildings.