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First Nations super summit relaunched to improve retirement outcomes

David Prestipino -

A new-look Indigenous superannuation summit will return next week, aiming to find tangible solutions that help improve the retirement outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The 2024 First Nations Super Summit in Sydney next Thursday will for the first time be Indigenous-led, and feature First Nations speakers and community voices offering valuable insights from a grassroots perspective to industry stakeholders.

Hosted by First Nations Foundation (FNF), Australia's only national Indigenous financial education organisation, the summit's main objective was to examine barriers that prevent First Nations people from accessing and managing their superannuation, while determining priority areas of focus over the coming 12 months.

AMP will help sponsor this year's summit as the institution wanted to see a more inclusive financial landscape, a position several of Australia's big four banks have taken and acted upon recently.

AMP head of Indigenous programs, Binowee Bayles, a proud Koori woman born and raised on Gadigal Country in Redfern, said the summit would help create a more equitable retirement system for First Nations retirees.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for industry to come together with FNF to find practical solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to better understand and benefit from the supesr system," she said.

"We hope the summit will kickstart meaningful and sustainable change, and AMP is proud to be involved."

FNF chief executive Phil Usher said the event would unite community and industry and was a crucial step towards economic reconciliation for First Nations Australians.

"The superannuation system has systemic issues that mean it's not fit for purpose for First Nations people," he said.

"This is not to say we want to just make a list of demands for the entire system to be changed but, be creative in the way that both parties come to the table to create tangible outcomes."

The Federal Government's release of its Retirement Income Review in July found First Nations people were likely to have either no superannuation or lower superannuation balances at retirement than non-Indigenous Australians.

It found the number of First Nations people with superannuation was 74 per cent for men and 58 per cent for women, compared to 85 and 83 per cent for non-Indigenous men and women respectively.

The median superannuation balance of First Nations people was also significantly lower, with Indigenous men having 59 per cent less in super, with balances estimated at $25,000, compared to $60,635 for non-Indigenous men.

Similarly, Indigenous women experienced a 50 per cent reduction, with median balances recorded at $19,000, opposed to $38,000 for non-Indigenous women.

Observing the disparities, Mr Usher said he was concerned at the perceived unattainability of accessing superannuation for many Indigenous people.

"For many of our people, it feels unattainable that they will ever be able to access their super as they feel they won't make preservation age," he said.

"So when we see things like the early access to super scheme during COVID, First Nations people were accessing their retirement savings at a higher rate than non-Indigenous people."

Mr Usher said although Australia had received global acclaim for its retirement system, the summit offered an opportunity to assess its success and elevate standards from a First Nations perspective only.

"There is an age-old adage in First Nations practices that we simply listen to the cultural knowledge holders, this is what we are asking of the sector during our summit," Mr Usher said.

First Nations Super Summit

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Mercure Hotel (on Gadigal Land in Sydney). Registrations still open. Click here for more info.

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