Designed to increase the financial inclusion of Indigenous people in superannuation, an award-winning event has gained the support of AustralianSuper, Cbus and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.

Organised by the First Nation Foundation (FNF), the Big Super Day Out is due to be held from 3-7pm on Friday June 24 in Sydney at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, with another planned to occur in Melbourne during October.

David Atkin, chief executive of Cbus, said that while superannuation has not always delivered for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, the Big Super Day Out was one-step towards addressing this issue.

Ian Silk, chief executive of AustralianSuper, echoed this view: “Australia has a universal super system but the benefits certainly are not universal when it comes to the Indigenous community.”

“Big Super Day Out is a fantastic initiative to address disadvantage by helping Indigenous Australians get their super sorted. By helping people take a few simple steps, the Big Super Day Out can potentially provide Indigenous Australians with more to look forward to in their retirement. It’s a great example of the super sector focusing on inclusion and education, and one that AustralianSuper fully supports.”

Last year’s event had 170 people attend, with more than 60 receiving direct advice – a fact Amanda Young, chief executive of FNF, said is noteworthy as other events put on for the community can struggle to attract 20 people.

Low financial literacy needs to be addressed

“Firstly, accessibility is important for the Aboriginal community; to have activities come to them in a way that is safe and cultural and they can engage, otherwise they bounce off,” said Young.

“It is also important because of the low financial literacy. A lot of the time they don’t realise superannuation is their money. The second thing is with mortality. They think are not going to live to 60, so why bother? This is a way to start to have another conversation with them about it is your money, what else would you like to do with it?”

Because of the success of the event, the FNF was presented with the Financial Literacy Australia’s (FLA’s) Highly Commendable Award for their work in the community.

The success has also led to this year’s event being oversubscribed by volunteers, with superannuation professionals from across the industry offering their time.

Looking forward, the aim is to incrementally increase the scale and spread of these outreach events, first to capital cities and then to regional centres, but for this to happen greater support is still needed from the industry.

Young said there were two ways in which super funds could offer this support. One was financially so the FNF can extend the reach of the program to different places. The second was by supporting staff to volunteer and participate.

“Personally, I would really like to thank the sector for being increasingly active in the Indigenous space. And I would encourage them not only to support these events, but also to look at their products and services to maximise their engagement with the Indigenous community.”

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