Victims to get access to pedophiles’ super
QUEENSLAND pedophile-fighter Hetty Johnston helped influence a Turnbull Government plan to allow victims of serious crimes and child sex abuse to raid the superannuation of their perpetrators.
Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer, shocked by high-profile cases where perpetrators hid their assets in superannuation, has warned that new laws were coming that would stop vile predators hiding their wealth.
Ms O'Dwyer and Ms Johnston spoke about victims, and to victims, who were being cheated out of compensation.
Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Ms Johnston said that too often perpetrators were trying to cheat victims and by hiding the wealth, it often stopped victims taking civil action.
"We've heard of a lot of cases where offenders send their money overseas or just give it away to another person,'' Ms Johnston said.
"It's about power (for perpetrators) and taking their money away is like taking away their power."
Ms O'Dwyer told The Courier-Mail said she was not aware of the issue until she sat down with victims and victim campaigners.
She said after hearing their stories and taking advice, it was clear something needed to be done.
She said the purpose of super was not to hide assets from victims.
"There is no question that advocates like Hetty Johnston were very persuasive.
"For too long, people who have perpetrated horrific crimes have been able to shield their superannuation assets from their victims.
"Criminals should not be able to protect their assets through superannuation in circumstances where a victim would otherwise be granted access to those assets."
The Courier-Mail can today outline a number of options the Government is considering.
Perpetrators who have committed a serious crime involving violence that has a maximum
custodial sentence of 10 years or greater, would no longer be able to refuse to pay their victims court-ordered compensation or a compensation order.
Amounts would be paid to a court, either directly from the superannuation fund or through a centralised system. The lump sum would be tax-free.
Once a perpetrator's other assets are exhausted, or the compensation order remains unpaid
after 12 months, victims would be able to unlock the super of the offender.
Under proposals, the Government would amend the rules governing early release of superannuation to require trustees to release funds to uncompensated or partially compensated victims of serious crimes.
The Government will provide next steps after consultation.