Indigenous Super Summit set to highlight superannuation challenges

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) CEO Eva Scheerlinck. Photo supplied.

A summit pushing for better results for Indigenous Australians’ superannuation is being held next week at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane.

The Indigenous Super Summit will connect the Indigenous community with representatives from the superannuation industry and government agencies to address the challenges Indigenous Australians face regarding superannuation.

During the summit, Indigenous communities and financial counsellors will provide feedback and join panel discussions on advocacy priorities to improve superannuation outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The Financial Services Royal Commission uncovered that Indigenous communities were under-serviced by superannuation funds and encountered unique challenges when accessing financial services.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Lost superannuation
  • Identification issues
  • Alternative kinship structures
  • Difficulty accessing financial services in remote areas.

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) CEO Eva Scheerlinck will be attending the summit and said the focus was on bringing stakeholders together for authentic discussions around these issues.

“The event brings together industry representatives, government agencies and Indigenous financial counsellors who are at the coalface helping Indigenous community members access their super,” Ms Scheerlinck said.

“This is the first summit to occur after the Financial Services Royal Commission, so we are hoping to get a good pulse check of the way that superannuation funds, service providers and government agencies are working together to improve Indigenous access to superannuation.”

Ms Scheerlinck said the Royal Commission made it clear to the government that Indigenous Australians face unique barriers in accessing financial services and that these barriers need to be addressed in order to have a superannuation system that benefits all Australians.

“The Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are two government agencies that play a key role in working with funds and Indigenous communities to improve services,” Ms Scheerlinck said.

“Representatives from the ATO and ASIC will be speaking at the summit and have been closely involved with the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group.”

The ATO’s total figure of lost super in Australia is currently $17.5 billion and recently, $4.37 million of lost super was reconnected to Indigenous Australians during an annual superannuation roadshow of representatives from superannuation funds and government agencies.

WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt said while superannuation fell within the Federal jurisdiction, he was acutely aware of the challenges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face regarding superannuation.

“I strongly support the efforts by the sector to improve education of this issue within remote communities and for the funds involved to improve their culturally appropriate training so that they are better equipped to deal with some of the issues which are unique to Aboriginal communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“I am optimistic that this proactive stance sees real benefits flow through to Aboriginal members in the future.”

The Indigenous Super Summit is on Tuesday August 6 from 10am to 5pm at Brisbane’s State Library of Queensland.

By Jade Bradford

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