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$25 million in super recovered for Indigenous clients

David Prestipino -

A rebrand of a key outreach program to help recover superannuation for Indigenous communities had a million-dollar effect in the past financial year.

First Nations Foundation (FNF), a national Indigenous-led financial education provider, reconnected Indigenous communities with $1.2 million in superannuation in 2023, boosting the overall total of super located to $25.2 million.

FNF's 2023 Impact Report showed its outreach programs, including Big Super Day Out - which began in 2017 and relaunched as Financial Wellness Week last year - raised key issues First Nations people faced in the sector.

"Financial Wellness Week highlighted both the challenges Indigenous communities encounter in accessing super and banking services, as well as the significant opportunity to offer improved assistance," FNF chief executive Phil Usher said.

"It's clear that millions of dollars in superannuation are being disconnected from Indigenous communities, which highlights the urgent need for systemic change to prevent such significant losses. 

"Through our outreach initiatives, we've shown that offering culturally-sensitive support can play a pivotal role in levelling the retirement playing field for Indigenous Australians."

The FNF report also revealed a much higher level of engagement with Indigenous Australians last year, with 2,160 individuals assisted with superannuation, banking and government services, up from 1,600 in 2022.

Mr Usher said this was mainly due to initiatives such as Financial Wellness Week, which was rolled out across seven new Indigenous communities last year, extending its reach by approximately 25 per cent.

"We have a clear purpose at FNF and that's to financially empower all First Nations Australians," he said.

"We are committed to expanding our community outreach and maintaining strong partnerships that help us pursue economic reconciliation."

He said FNF had extended its On Country program - which provides professionals in community organisations and financial wellbeing roles with the right skills to distribute its financial literacy resources to First Nations communities and clients - to help achieve this, with the number of organisations trained through the program reaching 277 last year, up from eight in 2022.

"We offer a number of key financial literacy initiatives across various platforms, as well as in-person sessions, which blend culture with money skills and are delivered by our team," he said. 

"However, the need to expand our services to more communities is obvious and the growth of our On Country program allows us to do that."

Earlier this year FNF relaunched its Indigenous superannuation summit, with the 2024 event in Sydney bringing financial experts together to help find tangible solutions to improve retirement outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

More information on First Nations Foundation initiatives, including how to support the organisation, is available online.

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