A petition pushing for a change to superannuation law containing almost 20,000 signatures will be handed to Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer later this month.
The petition was started by a parent of a victim of confessed paedophile Maurice Van Ryn, who will be eligible for parole in 2028. It was in response to stress felt by victims during recent civil proceedings against the 62-year-old.
“I have said previously that I don't see why someone should be able to protect their assets through hiding them in superannuation in circumstances where a victim would otherwise be granted access to those assets,” Ms O’Dwyer said this week.
The government announced in December it would conduct a review into whether superannuation assets should be available to pay compensation or restitution to victims of crime.
“This hiding of money is just another way of punishing his victims,” the mother of one of his victims said in December last year.
Ms O’Dwyer said there is “no doubt this painful saga has had an impact on the Bega community”.
She will be handed the petition on March 26, and will speak with victims of crime advocate Howard Brown and founder and chair of child protection advocacy organisation Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston.
“The meeting at Parliament House is a vital opportunity to hear from the petition organisers and Bega community directly to ensure their views are taken on board as part of the superannuation release review process. It is important that the government hears directly from the community on important matters like this,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
The petition quickly gathered support after it was posted online in October last year, with Ms O’Dwyer’s office issuing a media release indicating her support for a review.
The rules governing early release of superannuation have not changed greatly since 1997, and Ms O’Dwyer said the system “has come a long way since then”.
The government’s review will also consider the current rules governing early release of superannuation on grounds of severe financial hardship and compassionate grounds.
“This review is one of a range of measures the government is progressing to ensure that the rules governing superannuation serve the interests of consumers,” Ms O’Dwyer said.