A focus on reconciliation

29 May 2023

All Australians have the right to live well in retirement. We recognise the current superannuation system has some way to go to achieve this and barriers exist for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

As Australia’s largest super fund, we have a key role to play in supporting all Australians to achieve their best financial position in retirement. This includes advocating for changes to the current system to make it fairer for everyone.  

We’re committed to addressing barriers to financial inclusion and creating opportunities for First Nations members to better understand and access their super.   

Our aim is to help members from all backgrounds understand how to:  

  • Manage their super
  • Choose the right fund and investment option for their circumstances
  • Achieve their best financial position in retirement.   

First Nations people and super 

On average, First Nations people have lower super balances when they retire than the general population. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with super is about 74% for men and 59% for women. That’s compared with rates of 86% for men and 84% for women for the population more generally1.  

Estimated average balances are also lower compared to the Australian population as a whole. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men (who had not yet retired) had a mean balance of $78,294 in 2018. The figure for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men was $153,978. For women, the respective figures are $59,951 and $96,5301.  

 

Committed to helping address the issues  

AustralianSuper’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a step in the journey towards helping all Australians live well in retirement.  

Our RAP outlines Fund initiatives to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members. It also aims to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and community service providers. 

 

Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (PDF, 4.4MB)

 

3 areas where AustralianSuper is making a difference 

The RAP focuses on strengthening relationships and improving our understanding of First Nations peoples, cultures and communities and the issues they may face. Our actions to improve services and help these communities include: 

1. Creating dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander phone support

AustralianSuper was the first superannuation fund in Australia to provide a dedicated option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in its Interactive Voice Response system. The option to identify as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person is available to members when calling into the contact centre. The caller can then speak to a specialist team with cultural training. This team is better equipped to understand and help with the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

First Nations interpreting service

Members or their representatives can ask for a booking with an interpreter in one of 50 First Nations Languages. To book an interpreter, members can call 1300 300 273 and select option 2 as a current member, and then select option 2 to speak to our specialist team. 

How it works

  • The member lodges a request for an interpreter and confirms details.
  • When a suitable interpreter is sourced our team will confirm the booking via phone, including appointment time and language. If no suitable interpreter can be found, we will let members know.
  • A joint party phone call will be made at the agreed time.
2. Establishing Career Trackers – paid internships 

Our Career Trackers program provides paid internships at the Fund to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The students spend a few months working in teams aligned to their studies, and have the opportunity to return the following year to continue their placement.  

This helps them to build experience in areas they’re passionate about. 

3. Supporting the First Nations Foundation community outreach

Led by the First Nations Foundation, community outreach days partner with several super funds and financial services organisations. The aim is to help improve superannuation outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.  

A team of experts go to remote areas of Australia to provide guidance to those who: 

  • may not know if they have super 
  • may not be getting paid the super they are entitled to
  • may have lost super.  

Team members help people in recovering their lost money and build awareness of super in general, and how to keep track of it.  

In 2018 we engaged with 195 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and re-connected them with their superannuation totalling about $3.5 million. We’ve been a partner for 21 community outreach events that have reunited 1,600 First Nations Peoples with $24 million in lost superannuation. 

Learning from our time with these communities, we’ve introduced a number of initiatives to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members in their unique challenges in engaging with their super.  

They include:  

  • the creation of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members 
  • a member identification form.  

Building awareness amongst colleagues

AustralianSuper employs over 1,000 people. Each year, we promote Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week, and several activities to help colleagues build and strengthen their understanding of First Nations history and cultures. More than 100 colleagues within AustralianSuper have completed a cultural competence course to better understand First Nations cultures, history and the challenges faced.  

Free financial literacy courses on super and retirement planning 

Our education team offers a range of free online webinars for all members and non-members. Several of these are available on demand to watch at any time. The sessions are a great way to improve knowledge of super or retirement planning, and build confidence. Super is a large asset, and an important one to understand through a member’s working life.

 

EXPLORE WEBINAR TOPICS

 

References:
1. The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited (ASFA), Developments in account balances - Superannuation account balances for various demographic groups, March 2022. Data extracted for ASFA from the HILDA data base. 

 

This may include general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision consider if the information is right for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, available at australiansuper.com/PDS or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD.


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