How can a Credit Union and Building Society merger affect its members and how can members ensure their funds are protected?

Q. Recently a Building Society and a Credit Union (both of which I was a member) changed to a Bank. Statements made by both entities claimed that this would make no difference to  ‘Members’.  How does this affect my Standing? Am I a shareholder, a customer, a creditor? Can these Banks be bought out? How does a “member’ benefit by way of dividend of profit? What protection does my savings have?

A.  Credit Unions and Building Societies are traditionally owned by their customers or members whereas banks are owned by shareholders.  Historically Credit Unions and Building Societies were established to help workers access banking services on a “mutual” or not for profit basis.  As their primary objective was to serve their members, their fees and rates were more competitive than those offered by larger institutions.

Banks broadly fall into two categories; Publicly Listed Banks which exist to generate a profit or return to their shareholders and Mutual Banks whose purpose is to provide lower cost products and services subsidised from profits generated for the benefit of all shareholders.

In recent history, there has been a moving trend for Credit Unions and Building Societies to merge into Mutual banks.  The reasons for this vary but appear to be driven by a necessity to become larger to be able to compete with “for profit” banking institutions driven by a growing demand from members for a broader range of services, the cost of technology changes and the need to meet ongoing regulatory obligations.

All Credit Unions, Mutual Building Societies and Mutual Banks are Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADI’s) and are regulated in the same way as other Australian Banks.  They are regulated by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC ) under the Corporations Act and by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) under the Banking Act.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that whereas consumers understand the range of products, services and security provided by banks, the same cannot be said for Building Societies and Credit Unions.  The term Bank is a restricted terms under the law.  To use the term bank, an ADI must have $50 million in assets.  Hence we have seen a merger of a number of smaller Building Societies and Credit Unions to meet this capital adequacy hurdle to enable the name change to a bank.

Without being aware of the specifics of the merger and transition to a bank by your Building Society and Credit Union, I cannot be definitive in terms of your specific circumstances and consequences.  However, I would imagine that the members of both the Building Society and the Credit Union would have voted for the merger and the extinguishment of member rights.  Eligible voting members would have swapped their member rights for shareholder rights in accordance with a new constitution for the Mutual Bank. Any prior membership fees would have been refunded to the member’s accounts.  All members would have then become shareholders in the Mutual Bank.

As a shareholder in a Mutual Bank, you have voting rights in terms of governance, structure and the future of the organisation.  You should benefit from lower cost products and services rather than by dividend.  I assume the constitution of the Mutual Bank will outline under what circumstances the Bank could be sold but more likely merged into another institution.

APRA’s rules on safety capital requirements for deposits apply to all Banks, Building Societies and Credit Unions.  In terms of protection for your funds, Deposits in all ADIs of up to $250,000 have been guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government since 1 February 2012.

According to the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), there are currently 4.5 million members or shareholders in Mutual Banking and in 2016 the sector managed $92.3 billion.

Are we heading towards another tech bubble?

Below is a summary of an article titled ‘Taming the masters of the tech universe’ by Martin Wolf which was published on 16 November on www.ft.com.

Eight of the world’s twelve most highly valued companies are technology businesses, as highlighted in Martin Wolf’s, Taming the Masters of the Tech Universe. Apple is the largest of them with a market capitalization approaching US$900 billion. Barring a major loss of competitive position, it could potentially become the world’s first trillion dollar company in the years ahead. Most of the tech juggernauts are American, however two are Chinese (Alibaba and Tencent Holdings) and one is Korean (Samsung Electronics).

Many worry that such tech dominance is setting up another “tech wreck”, as occurred when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000/01. However, there are some major differences between now and then.

Most of the large tech companies are solid businesses generating real profits and cash flows, rather than just promises of future profits. As a result, equity valuations are a lot less stretched than during the dotcom bubble. There are fewer instances of “new age” valuation metrics being used such as multiples of revenue (Snap, the owner of Snapchat, being a possible exception).

The current 12-month forward PE ratios for the eight largest tech stocks are Apple 14.7x, Alphabet 21.0x, Microsoft 23.9x, Amazon 73.1x, Facebook 24.6x, Alibaba 30.4x, Tencent 38.9x and Samsung Electronics 7.9x. Some of the valuations might turn out to be excessive. But in many cases the PE ratio is similar to the expected compound annual growth rate in EPS over the next 3 years, possibly justifying current valuations. Amazon stands out as the stock with the highest near-term PE ratio but is being bought on much longer timeframes given its market dominance in certain sectors and disruptive potential in others.

Bond yields are much lower this time too, justifying higher PE ratios all other things being equal. Back in 2000/01 US 10-year Treasury yields were around 5-6%, compared to about 2.4% now. The wider spread of tech companies between the US and Asia is also a healthy development. The businesses in which the tech companies are engaged are different in many respects or are geographically separated, ranging from software, computer hardware, mobile phones, semiconductors, televisions, online retail, media (including social media), gaming, search and advertising.

The capacity of the digital economy to transform economies and societies is becoming clear enough. To be not part of it is to miss out on future growth drivers. The largest tech company in Europe is the enterprise application software and database company, SAP, which only ranks as the world’s 60th most valued company. (The most valuable listed European company is Royal Dutch Shell.) Australia’s tech sector is also relatively underdeveloped.

One of the difficulties of investing in tech companies is trying to estimate the longevity of a particular company’s competitive advantage. Innovation and economies of scale, including network externalities that lock in customers, can deliver sustainable, super-normal profits. So can monopolies/duopolies where they exist, e.g. protected markets in China. However, the potential for disruption by smaller innovators is always present.

In Martin Wolf’s article, he mentions a number of difficulties for governments and regulators to grapple with in relation to tech companies, particularly around competition policy, taxation, surplus cash, impacts on labour markets, media policy (e.g. fake news) and privacy. The tendency of large tech companies is to acquire competitors and potential competitors to entrench competitive advantage. Google and Facebook alone are expected to receive 63% of all US digital advertising revenue in 2017, and many tech companies pay very low tax rates and have a lot of cash sitting offshore that could be invested more productively.

Whatever the challenges for governments, tech companies will continue to transform the world and deliver strong earnings growth for shareholders. It is always possible to overpay for good companies but, in most cases, the worst excesses of the dotcom era are not present now.

Source:  ‘Taming the Masters of the Tech Universe, published 16/11/17 on www.ft.com, article written by Marcus Tuck – Head of equities Mason Stevens

Q. Can I make a personal super contribution rather than salary sacrifice via my employer and then claim a tax deduction on my contribution?

Q. I am employed full time and my employer allows me to Salary Sacrifice Superannuation. I read recently that I should make personal Superannuation contributions rather than Salary Sacrifice via my employer and then claim the tax deduction on my contribution. Has there been a change in the rules allowing me to do this

A. From 1 July 2017, most individuals who are eligible to contribute to Superannuation will be able to claim a tax deduction for their personal Super contributions.

Broadly speaking, to be eligible to make a personal Superannuation contribution, you need to be under age 75 at the time of making the contribution and have a Tax file number.  If you are age 65 or older you are obliged to satisfy the work test of 40 hours work, in a 30 day period in the financial year that you make the contribution before you can make your contribution.

Personal superannuation contributions made, where you claim a tax deduction, count towards the Concessional Contribution Cap.  Please note that this cap has been reduced effective 1 July 2017 to $25,000 per financial year. This is a substantial drop from the previous caps in the 2016-2017 tax year of $30,000 for those age 48 or younger at 30 June 2016 and $35,000 for those 49 or over at 30 June 2016.

It is important to recognise that the Concessional Contribution Cap includes all Employer and Personal Deductible Contributions in aggregate per Financial Year.  You need to be aware and monitor how much Employer Superannuation support you receive, when it is received by your fund and within which Financial Year.  Be careful, a liability for an Employer Contribution may arise in one financial year but may be paid by the employer in the next financial year.  Contributions that exceed the Concessional Contribution Cap are taxed at your marginal tax rate, will attract an excess Concessional Contribution charge, and will count towards your Non-Concessional Contribution cap if they are not subsequently withdrawn from the superannuation system.

In order to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions to Super, you will need to give written notice to your Superannuation fund. This is typically done by submitting a Notice of Intent that you wish to claim a tax deduction for all or part of the contribution you have made to the fund within specified time frames.  At the very latest, this notice must be submitted prior to you lodging your tax return but may need to be lodged sooner than this.

There are advantages of making Deductible Personal Superannuation contributions rather than Salary Sacrifice contributions;  You can control the timing of your contributions to your Superannuation fund and have greater control in the timing of the placement of investments.  You have greater ability to manage the risks of exceeding the contribution caps due to the timing of employer’s making contributions which are not within your control.

The new Deductible Personal Superannuation contribution rules also benefit those who have a mix of employment and self-employment.  Previously these individuals were unable to claim a personal tax deduction if their employment income was greater than 10% of their taxable income.

Some employers have exploited the loophole that exists whereby their Superannuation Guarantee obligation is reduced by employees electing to Salary Sacrifice, thereby reducing the income that their Superannuation Guarantee contributions are based upon.  The ability to claim a tax deduction for personal Super contributions, will effectively put these employees in the same position as if they are able to make salary sacrifice contributions without this penalty.

Others that stand to benefit will be individuals whose employer’s previously did not allow Salary Sacrifice.

Q. Is it possible to own a Racehorse inside a Self-Managed Superannuation fund (SMSF)?

Q. Is it possible to own a Racehorse inside a Self-Managed Superannuation fund (SMSF)? With the success of syndicates during the Spring Carnival, my friends and I are considering using our Super funds to acquire an interest in a horse. Thoughts?

A. This question comes up from time to time, especially around Spring Carnival! Whilst technically it may be possible, you would need to make sure that you complied with some very specific legal requirements that ultimately may make it all too hard.

Superannuation funds must meet the sole purpose test. Broadly, under the sole purpose test, the SIS Act prohibits trustees of a Super fund from maintaining the fund for any purpose other than providing members with funding for retirement. The ATO would likely be concerned that the investment in a Racehorse or the management of the Racehorse could be a way of using fund assets to pursue a “hobby or pastime”.

Owning the horse within the fund may not, by itself, breach this test, but it would be a red flag to the ATO who would most likely put the fund under additional scrutiny to ensure that the fund initially complies and then continues to comply with this requirement.

Any investment in a Racehorse would also need to be done at arms-length. Standard commercial terms would need to be in place; stabling and management cost such as trainer, strapper and jockey. Likewise, you could not acquire the racehorse from a related party.

There is another less well-known test that applies under the Act which is the “Prudent person test”. The Prudent person test compels Trustees to act with the same care, skill and diligence for their SMSF as would apply if they were investing on behalf of someone other than themselves. In other words, you can’t be reckless with your assets within the fund if it would be unreasonable for a prudent person to do so.

The investments within a fund must also be aligned with the documented investment strategy of the fund. At the very least the members of the SMSF would have to agree that investing in a racehorse fits within the investment strategy of the fund.

Is it reasonable to expect that the risk and returns of investing in a racehorse will meet the objectives of providing for retirement savings for the members of the fund?

Racehorses are typically owned individually, in a partnership or as part of a syndicate. How your SMSF structured the ownership of a racehorse (for example via a trust or a company), can be a further impediment to the asset being owned by the SMSF.

While there is nothing to specifically stop you investing in a racehorse within a SMSF, your fund would, at the very least need to ensure the investment doesn’t cause the fund to breach the sole purpose test or the prudent person test. Your fund would need to ensure the investment is aligned with the investment strategy of the fund, and the ownership of the horse is structured in an appropriate way.

Given all of the above factors and the potentially significant penalties for getting it wrong, is it really worth the punt?

How does “Crowd Funding” work and what are the risks in investing on a “Start-Up”?

Q. I am interested in investing in “start-up” companies. Whilst I am aware of the risks, I would be happy to invest a small amount in new ventures looking to grow.  I have read about “Crowd Funding”.  Can you please explain how this work?  What are the risks and how do I know if the investment stacks up?

A.  Investing in ‘Start-up” ventures traditionally has been the domain of “sophisticated”  or wholesale investors with sufficient wealth to meet the minimum investment criteria. Access to “Start-up” ventures for the retail small investor has now become considerably easier due to recent changes in legislation around crowdsourced funding.

Crowd Funding or Crowd Sourcing (CSF) is the process of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet. New legislation came into effect on the 29 September that will enable ‘mum and dad’ investors to invest in small Australian unlisted Public Companies who seek investment funds via CSF.  The legislation excludes foreign companies from raising capital through CSF in Australia.

Traditionally small investors have been restricted to investing in new ventures via an Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) on the share market.  The new rules will provide retail investors with access to a range of investment opportunities they have traditionally been unable to reach due to the large capital requirements to be considered a wholesale investor.

Under the new CSF legislation, retail investors will be able to invest to an annual limit of $10,000 per investment.  However, an investor can invest in an unlimited number of CSF offers. Some offshore CSF models allow investors to receive an investment return in the form of product or services, the Australian CSF Legislation specifically states that the investor is acquiring shares in the unlisted Public Company.

Using a new web-based funding framework, small unlisted Public Companies with less than $25 million in assets will be able to seek CSF investment funds of up to $5 million a year via licensed crowdfunding platforms or portals.

Fees paid to the CSF platform providers are similar to the fees paid to an underwriter for a conventional capital raising via an IPO.  Estimated fees for companies seeking to raise funds are around 5-7%.  Transaction costs to investors include Credit card and transaction fees of approximately 3% and may include performance fees.

Companies operating these CSF platforms will be licensed and regulated by ASIC.  Crowd Funding sites must comply with a range of obligations such as vetting the quality of the companies seeking to raise capital, undertaking due diligence on issuers and providing risk warnings to investors. Applications for ASIC CSF licenses opened on the 29 September.

CSF platform providers already operating may convert an existing company to use the new CSF requirements.  Examples of companies currently offering CSF platforms in the Australian market for “sophisticated”  or wholesale investors include Equitise, CrowdfundUP, VentureCrowd, Pozible and Kickstarter.  At the time of writing, it was not clear how long the ASIC license approval would take, nor which providers had applied, but some are expected to be open to raising funds under the new license requirements in upcoming months.

Under the new rules, many of the normal reporting and corporate governance requirements for Public Companies under the Corporations Act are relaxed. The new regulations will require an offer document, but it will be quite short compared to a traditional IPO. The application process for an offer will include a risk acknowledgement and a five-day cooling off period.

Whilst these type of investments will be appealing to many investors, it is still important to recognise the inherent risks in investing in start-up ventures.   You may be unable to liquidate your investment for a number of years and you may also run the risk of losing 100% of the fund’s you invest.

Questions for investors to consider should be;  Has the company seeking funds clearly explained what they will do with the funds raised?  Have they been clear and transparent in their fundraising campaign and business plans?  Have they answered clearly any questions raised by prospective investors?

Investors wishing to consider investing in CSF should consider the risks and only invest as part of a broader diversified portfolio.  No doubt licensed CSF platform providers will be advertising when they are “open for business” under the new laws.  Do your homework on any investment opportunity and seek advice.

Oliver’s Insights – Will Australian house prices crash?

In the latest Oliver’s Insights, Dr Shane Oliver looks at the outlook for Australian house prices and specifically the much talked about risk of a property crash.

The key points are as follows:

  • Talk of a property crash is likely to ramp up again with signs that the Sydney and Melbourne property markets are cooling. But the Australian property market is a lot more complicated than the crash calls suggest.
  • We continue to expect a 5-10% downswing at Sydney and Melbourne property prices but a crash is unlikely and other capital cities will perform better.
  • It remains a time for property investors to exercise caution and focus on laggard or higher-yielding cities or regions.

Introduction:

A common narrative on the Australian housing market is that it’s in a giant speculative bubble propelled by tax breaks, low-interest rates and “liar loans” that have led to massive mortgage stress and that it’s all about to go bust, bringing down the banks and the economy with it.

The trouble is we have been hearing the same for years. Calls for a property crash have been pumped out repeatedly since early last decade.

READ HERE

Q. When does a share of stock become a worthless stock and how can you claim a capital loss?

Q. I have several thousand Arrium Limited shares. On 1 Sep 17, that company was acquired by GFG Alliance.  In the absence of any formal notification from Arrium’s administrators or from its share registrar (Board Room Pty Ltd), and based solely on my reading of the newspapers, my impression is that the shares are now worthless and that sooner or later, probably at the end of the current financial year, I may be able to claim a capital loss on my personal tax return.

If this is so, at what point, and under what circumstances, and by whose authority may I claim their original cost to me as a capital loss? For example, am I deemed notionally to have sold my shares to GFG Alliance for zero cents? Or has some competent authority recognised by the ATO formally declared my shares to be worthless?

A. Generally speaking, in these types of scenarios where a company’s shares are essentially considered to have become worthless, the company will need to have been liquidated, or you will need to sell your shares, in order to make a capital loss.

Alternatively, once the administrator or liquidator makes a declaration in writing that they have reasonable grounds to believe there is no likelihood that shareholders will receive any further distribution for their shares, a shareholder may be able to claim a capital loss. That is, you may claim the tax loss in the Financial year that the administrator or liquidator declares the shares worthless, or to have no value or negligible value. Under these circumstances, if you’re eligible, you may be able to declare the capital loss on your tax return for that year.

If you don’t choose to claim the capital loss in that year, you won’t be eligible to claim the capital loss until the shares are disposed of.  Disposal usually occurs when the shares are sold or transferred to another owner.

However, a disposal could also occur when the company shares are essentially cancelled – either as a result of a court order or as part of a voluntary wind up of the company.

If the company shares are not cancelled, you will be unable to trigger the tax loss until you sell your shares. There are a range of companies in the market who will “buy” effectively worthless parcels of shares from you for a fee.  The sale of these shares crystallizes the loss for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes.

The benefit of capital losses is that they can be offset against other capital gains now or into the future. This means that the loss, if not used immediately, will carry forward until a future CGT event occurs.

In a future year, if you sell an asset with a capital gain, you will be able to deduct any carried forward capital loss against that future gain, thereby reducing the assessable gain.

Under most circumstances, a carry forward capital loss will mean a reduction in the tax liability arising from a future gain. Remember that this offset happens whether you are likely to pay tax or not, so keep in mind that if you use up this loss while you’re unemployed, it won’t be as valuable as it would be if it offsets a capital gain while you have a regular income and are paying tax at a higher rate.

At the time of writing, the administrators of Arrium, Korda Mentha could not confirm when they would be in a position to advise shareholders that they would be eligible to claim the capital loss.  They have advised that information would be posted on www.kordamentha.com in the coming weeks.

Given the particularly complex nature of these situations, it is strongly recommended that you would seek professional taxation advice prior to making any decisions.

Where are we in the global investment cycle and what’s the risk of a 1987 style crash?

In the latest Oliver’s Insights, Dr Shane Oliver looks at where we are in the global investment cycle and comparisons between today and the period prior to the 1987 share market crash.

The key points are as follows:

  • There is still sign of the sort of excesses that precede major economic downturns and major bear markets suggesting that (although US shares are overdue a decent correction) we are still a fair way from the top in the investment cycle.
  • Key to watch will be rising inflation and aggressive monetary tightening.
  • The current environment around share markets is very different to 1987.

Introduction:

This month of October often creates apprehension amongst investors given its historic track record with the 1929 and 1987 share market crashes. And it was in October 2007 that US shares peaked ahead of 50% plus falls (in most share markets) through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). From the post-GFC share market lows in March 2009, US shares are up 278% and global shares are up 196% to new record highs and Australian shares are up 92%. After such strong gains, it’s natural to wonder whether another major bear market is imminent. Aside from left field events triggering a crash, the key question remains where are we in the investment cycle? This note updates our analysis on this front from earlier this year (see here) and also provides a comparison to 1987.

READ MORE

Q. What form of assistance are seniors entitled to when they choose to stay in the family home?

Q. Mum is 86, a widow and lives at home. I am concerned about her welfare but she refuses to consider moving to a Nursing Home. I respect her wishes to stay at home but she does need some assistance. She receives $780 a fortnight part Age Pension and has a $200,000 Term deposit with the Bank. What form of assistance is she entitled to and who should we contact for help?

A. Not unsurprisingly living in your family home as long as possible is a key priority for most elderly people.  Whilst there is a general recognition that they may need assistance in some aspects of daily living, they fiercely value their independent living.

Access to Home Care Packages (HCP) is initiated via “my aged care” and the Department of Human Services.  The program provides services to assist individuals to remain at home for as long as possible by providing choice and flexibility in the way support and care services are provided.

To be eligible for a HCP your mum must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessments Team (ACAT).  The ACAT will then prepare a letter confirming eligibility for a HCP and detail the level of care your mum is approved for.

The level of Government subsidy available depends upon what level of support your mum is deemed to require.  There are four levels of HCP available; level 1 for basic needs, $22.35 Government subsidy per day, level 2 for low level care needs, $40.65 Government subsidy per day, level 3 for intermediate care needs, $89.37 Government subsidy per day and level 4 for High level care needs, $135.87 Government subsidy per day.

Your mum will then be placed in the national priority queue for HCP and will be contacted when a package becomes available.  Once offered, your mum will have up to 56 days to accept the package and choose a provider.

You should meet with providers in your area to discuss Services available. These may include, transport for shopping and appointments, social support by way of companionship, domestic assistance for household tasks such as cleaning and lawn mowing, personal care assistance for bathing or dressing, food services such as assistance with preparation or delivery of meals, home modifications for example installing medical alert alarms, ramps and rails. Services can be tailored to your mum based on her personal needs and the funding available.

HCP cannot be used as a general source of income for day to day living expenses rather, they are a subsidy paid to HCP providers.  HCP providers can charge administration and management fees in addition to the provision of the service.  From 27 February 2017, several changes were made to increase the choice for consumers.  Consumers now can choose which provider they choose to work with.  Consumers can transfer any unspent amounts from one provider to another.

When accepting an HCP, the recipient may be asked to pay a range of fees towards the cost of their care depending on their circumstances. A Basic Daily Care fee is negotiated between the recipient and the provider.  The maximum daily care fee is capped at 17.5% of the maximum single Age Pension rate.  Currently, the cap rate is $10.17 per day.

Depending on your mum’s income, an income-tested fee may apply.  This income tested fee reduces the Government subsidy paid to the HCP provider.  The provider will charge the same cost for the approved level of support, however, your mum will pay a greater portion of the cost.  An income tested fee is not payable if your mum’s income is less than $26,327. If your mum’s income exceeded this threshold but was less than $50,876, then the fee applicable would be 50% of the income in excess of $26,237 capped at a daily rate of $14.59 per day.  If your mum’s income was greater than $50,876, then the fee would be 50% of the income in excess of $50,876 capped at a daily rate of $29.19 per day.  A lifetime cap applies to income tested fees which is indexed and is currently $63,759.

Your mum will be required to submit an Aged Care Fees Income Assessment form (SA456) to the Department of Human Services to determine her applicable fees. An HCP fee estimator and further information can be found on HCP can be found at www.myagedcare.gov.au

Whilst the basic daily care fee is not means tested, there are a range of Financial Planning strategies that can be adopted to reduce the impact of the income tested fees.

Q. Can you withdraw your Superannuation when you permanently move to another country?

Q:  I was born in Fiji but have lived in Australia for the past 33 years.  I am planning on moving back to Fiji permanently.  Can I withdraw my Australian Superannuation and take it with me?  I am 52 years old.  What tax would I pay?

A:  Even though you will be departing Australia permanently, you will be ineligible to withdraw your Superannuation as you will not satisfy a Superannuation condition of release and you have not reached your preservation age. Preservation age for those born after 1 July 1964 is age 60.

Access to Superannuation benefits before preservation age for those permanently departing Australia, is limited to those who are temporary resident visa holders only.  Given you were an adult, being over 18 when you arrived in Australia, I assume you are an Australian Permanent Resident.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are obliged to retain their Australian Superannuation until they reach preservation age or satisfy another condition of release.  Revocation of Citizenship or Permanent Residency would not change this outcome and your funds would be obliged to be preserved until your circumstances changed.

To be eligible to access all of your Superannuation funds, the range of conditions of release for Superannuation include; reaching age 65, retirement after attaining your preservation age and ceasing gainful employment with the intention never to return to gainful employment on a part-time or full-time basis, or be assessed as Permanently Disabled or be Terminally ill.

You may be able to access a portion of your funds on compassionate grounds (as determined by the Department of Human Services)  or if you were deemed to be suffering Financial Hardship having been on income support payments for at least 26 weeks.

If you had been a temporary resident visa holder, you would be able to apply for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) on declaring your permanent departure from Australia.  DASP is taxed at 35% on the Taxable Component of the Superannuation benefit. Please note for those on a working holiday visa (417) and (462) the tax rate on withdrawal is 65%.  The tax-free component of your Superannuation fund is tax exempt.

Until you either reach age 65 or satisfy an alternative condition of release as described, you will be unable to access your Australian Superannuation funds until those conditions are met.