Indigenous superannuation gets a morale boost

The superannuation industry is holding its first Indigenous Superannuation Summit in Melbourne, with ASIC’s Indigenous Outreach Program (IOP) laying out some practical ways engagement with Indigenous superannuation members can be achieved.

The IOP has done some important work in Indigenous communities, with one trip recently to Lockhart River in Far North Queensland with QSuper, to help local super members unlock access to their superannuation account balances.

Superannuation isn’t high on the list of important things to know about for many Indigenous people in remote communities, however retirement income is no less important in these communities once the ability to work is reduced.

Access and engagement are considered fundamental factors in superannuation in Australia, with all Australians entitled to proper services so the system works for everyone, not just those with easy access to services. There are a number of elements that inhibit people in remote communities from accessing super, including a lack of identifying documents, which ultimately and inadvertently makes their own super balances inaccessible to them. 

The IOP was established six years ago because there were serious concerns about Indigenous superannuation outcomes. The IOP team goes on trips to urban, rural and remote communities to raise awareness about money matters, and to digest complaints made. The organisation is a champion for improving financial outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and in that one visit alone, helped 80 people.

Eva Scheerlink of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chairs the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group, which is made up of a solid handful of Australian organisations and companies, including retail and industry superannuation funds, banks and various councils and associations.