Lobbyist group pushes for indigenous super improvements
The Indigenous Superannuation Working Group has called on the government to improve indigenous superannuation outcomes by enabling better data sharing between major government agencies and super funds.
The working group, established in 2013, includes superannuation industry associations, superannuation funds and indigenous community representatives and aims to address access and engagement within the superannuation system.
Meeting in Canberra last week, the working group presented the findings of the inaugural Indigenous Super Summit to key government ministers and senators, including Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and shadow minister for indigenous affairs Shayne Neumann.
Eva Sheerlinck, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees' executive manager, leadership and governance, and chair of the working group, said government action was required to cut red tape to enable the sharing of data between major government agencies and superannuation funds.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have poorer superannuation outcomes than non-indigenous Australians – including significantly lower balances at retirement,” said Ms Scheerlinck.
“Currently, indigenous Australians face a range of challenges that government agencies are in a unique position to assist [with].”
Government agencies could help by verifying the identity of an individual so that a superannuation fund, at the member’s request, could consolidate multiple accounts, pay an insurance claim or even update simple details, she said.
“Government agencies have all the information required to make it easier for indigenous Australians to interact with their superannuation fund, but currently, they are unable to help due to excessive red tape,” she said.
“By placing indigenous superannuation outcomes on the Council of Australian Governments’ agenda, these agencies will be encouraged to collaborate to significantly improve retirement outcomes for many.”
The summit also identified several key priorities for improved superannuation access and engagement opportunities for the indigenous community, including greater data collection by funds for members who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
The working group also aims to establish greater cooperation across the represented stakeholder groups and to continue to investigate ways to improve the collection of data from indigenous members.