In the Big Super Day Out campaign this July, Indigenous people in Queensland will complete a health check on their super, reuniting many of them with lost super savings.
Locating lost super has been a top priority for the Big Super Day Out, which has been designed to help Indigenous communities improve their financial literacy.
The days are also about raising awareness of the financial challenges Indigenous Australians face. The First Nations Foundation runs the events and works together with the Centre for Social Impact and the Australian Taxation Office to help those in Indigenous communities find, consolidate and build their super, activate insurance cover and organise their beneficiaries.
First Nations chief executive Amanda Young says the process for finding lost super is helped by having individual tax file numbers, which are made available through the foundation’s unique partnership with the ATO.
“We do the leg work to reach Indigenous Australians and help them with the process,” Young explains. “We also complete health checks on individual super, which is, in itself, teaching financial literacy.
“A worrying issue is that, in Australia, no data is kept on Indigenous super by the superannuation sector. Funds simply have no idea who among their members is Indigenous. This really needs to change, as we can’t service our Indigenous members properly if we don’t know what their needs are. Our foundation is the only place where some data is collected.”
July is a busy month for the Big Super Day Out, with events across Queensland in Cairns, Brisbane, Aurukun, Hopevale and Palm Island. Young says there’s a full range of success stories from such events, including one man accessing $750,000 in a defined benefit plan, and 500 people in remote central Australia locating $3 million worth of super savings.
In other instances, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been able to locate their super despite having no knowledge of it prior to the Big Super Day Out.
“It can be a life-changing experience because communities are able get back money they perhaps didn’t know they had,” Young says. “It might be finding it, growing it, or even sleeping well at night knowing you have told your fund who you want your beneficiaries to be.”
Young adds that First Nations expects to locate even more funds this year, on top of the $4.7 million already found through this ongoing campaign.
“The number of events, participants and outcomes has exploded over the last year,” she says. “We have increased our events from two to 10 events in 2018, from central Australia to the eastern seaboard and the Cape.”
First Nations has plans to increase the number of events in 2019, with the aim of helping people in the Torres Strait Islands, Northern Territory and Western Australia.