Indigenous Superannuation Working Group
While the Australian superannuation system was designed with the intention to benefit all Australians, the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are often overlooked by superannuation policy makers and the industry itself.
AIST is keen to develop and implement strategies with the input of relevant stakeholders that address a range of issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face in relation to their super.
AIST along with the Financial Services Council, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, Industry Super Australia and Women in Super have joined forces with a number of superannuation funds to form the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group - a cross industry commitment to effectively establishing and meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In 2015, the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group completed their initial Discussion Paper - Building Better Superannuation Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and as a result, decided to hold the 2015 Indigenous Super Summit. The group has since held another Indigenous Super Summit in 2016.
Indigenous Super Summit 2016
The second Indigenous Superannuation Summit – an initiative of the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group – was held in Melbourne in early November. The Summit brought together government agencies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and the superannuation industry in a spirit of cooperation.
The objectives of the summit were to:
- Enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to superannuation
- Improve industry engagement with Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander members
- Promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment in the superannuation industry
After the summit, delegates expressed a desire to create change within their organisations and over the next 12 months the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group resolved to:
- Implement the new AUSTRAC Guidelines on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification
- Improve engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Move towards simplifying the system and reducing the use of technical language
- Encourage greater sharing of information to better inform decision making
A report of the day, including summaries of the discussions and outcomes is available in the Indigenous Super Summit Report.The 2016 Indigenous Super Summit was proudly supported by Mercer.
Alternatively you can review the 2015 Indigenous Superannuation Summit here.
In 2016 the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) issued new compliance guidance encouraging funds to look at more flexible approaches to identification requirements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – including accepting alternative forms of identification where possible. The Indigenous Superannuation Working Group worked closely with AUSTRAC on developing the guidance and have since put together a free letter template that organisations can use to inform others that the guidance exists.
Indigenous Super Working Group call for removal of $450 monthly income threshold for super
The Indigenous Super Working Group (ISWG) has called for the removal of the $450 monthly income threshold that is preventing many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from receiving superannuation.
Under the current $450 monthly income threshold policy, employers are not required to pay superannuation guarantee (SG) to employees over the age of 18 that earn less than $450 per month. As the weekly household income for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is almost half that of other Australian adults, they are more likely to be affected by the income threshold. As a result, many Indigenous people aren’t being paid superannuation from their employer meaning less compound interest is being earned, and ultimately, they are getting less money in retirement.
Financial Counsellor Register
AIST member funds can now access Financial Counselling Australia’s online register, allowing them to confirm the credentials of financial counsellors that are acting on behalf of fund members.
Superannuation funds must identify the person that they’re dealing with before they discuss details about a members’ superannuation interests. The online register – developed by Financial Counselling Australia in conjunction with the financial services sector – is designed to make this identification process easier for super funds when members choose to nominate a third party, such as a financial counsellor, to act on their behalf.
The online register allows superannuation funds to confirm the financial counsellor they’re dealing with is, in fact, a financial counsellor.
AIST believes improving this identification process will reduce complications for fund members when they try to engage with their fund, improving the members' overall experience. It is hoped this will be particularly useful for vulnerable groups seeking assistance with their super, such as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
AIST member funds are able to access the register, free of charge. If you would like to learn more or would like to access the register please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
AIST is also a proud charity partner of First Nations Foundation. You can read more about this parternship and the Big Super Day Out here.