MTAA Super is proud to be taking part in the 2019 Big Super Day Out roadshow – the largest initiative to reunite Indigenous Australians with their superannuation.
This year’s event will kick off in Darwin on Sunday 14 July before visiting communities in Western Australia and East Arnhem.
MTAA Super Adviser Craig Buchanan will be one of many super industry volunteers taking part in the event, providing hands-on support to help Indigenous Australians reconnect with their super.
Other supporters of the initiative include AIST, AustralianSuper, Rest, Statewide Super, Sunsuper, TelstraSuper, Australian Catholic Super, Christian Super, Equipsuper, HESTA, MLC, Suncorp and WA Super.
Recently, we spoke to the First Nations Foundation (FNF) — organisers of the Big Super Day Out — to find out why super is so important to Indigenous Australians and what we can do to keep them connected to their retirement savings. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: How did the Big Super Day Out begin?
A: The Big Super Day Out began in 2014. After rolling out our Indigenous financial literacy training My Moola, we realised there was a huge amount of unclaimed superannuation for Indigenous Australians nationwide. We also identified significant barriers preventing Indigenous Australians from getting appropriate assistance to reclaim this money, particularly in remote communities.
Q: How will reuniting super with Indigenous Australians help their communities?
A: In many cases superannuation is the largest financial asset Indigenous people will have throughout their lives. It may have a life-changing impact on them, their families and their communities, by reducing the reliance on social welfare payments and greatly improving living conditions.
Q: What unique challenges do First Australians face when it comes to financial security and equality?
A: A recent report we conducted in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact and NAB into the financial resilience and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians – Money Stories – shows that while 1 in 10 of the general Australian population faces severe financial stress, this rate jumps to 1 in 2 for the Indigenous population. Furthermore, only 1 in 10 Indigenous Australians feel they are financially secure or have the resources to handle money troubles.
Specific challenges they face include not having generational experience in handling money or growing wealth, difficulty in accessing banking services — particularly in remote communities— and a general lack of awareness of the products and services available to them.
Q: What is the overall goal for the FNF?
A: Our goal is to see economic freedom for Indigenous people, and we do this through a combination of education, leadership and advocacy.
We want to help develop a roadmap to an inclusive financial future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians that has Indigenous Australians involved at the heart of it, working with the Financial Services industry to improve the availability, accessibility and appropriateness of financial products and services.
Q: What is the biggest achievement you’ve had to date?
A: The Big Super Day Out events are our biggest achievement to date. We have helped more than 1100 people and returned more than $14.5 million in Indigenous super across 13 communities in the past 5 years.
Q: What’s the greatest challenge FNF faces and how do you tackle it?
A: Our greatest challenge is always funding! We don’t receive any Government funding and the cost of reaching communities is very high especially the regional and very remote locations where the impact of these events is often the most life changing.
Despite the high cost, we know the returns are so significant to Indigenous Australians.
Q: What’s the greatest strength your community provides?
A: First Nations Foundation is the only Indigenous-led charity in Australia that is working towards economic freedom for Indigenous people and we do this through a combination of education, leadership and advocacy.
We work hard to bring Indigenous people and the financial services industry together through activities such as the Big Super Day Out, where we take representatives from the superannuation sector out to community to gain an understanding of the unique money issues people have.
Great supporters such as MTAA Super and the many other funds involved in these events in 2019 are helping us to create real, life-changing outcomes for Indigenous people across the country.
Q: What’s your next exciting venture?
A: In September we are planning to launch My Money Dream, the world’s first digital financial literacy program created by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.
Indigenous people have the lowest financial literacy in the country.
My Money Dream is a low-cost educational tool for financial services organisations to provide their Indigenous customers, employees or community members, to help them learn money basics — such as banking, superannuation and insurance.
Apart from providing much needed financial literacy support, this low-cost, high-impact program helps organisations better understand their indigenous customers’ or employees’ needs and helps them build trust.
Currently, we are looking for sponsors to help us launch the product. Interested financial services providers (including super funds) and employers can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What’s the best way the MTAA Super community can support you?
A: MTAA Super has been fantastic in its support of the Big Super Day Out and we are incredibly grateful. The best way the MTAA Super community can continue to support us is to spread the word about the My Money Dream program. The more employers and communities we can get on board, the bigger the impact we can make. For details visit www.fnf.org.au/fnf_financialeducation.html
Q: How valuable is the support organisations like MTAA Super provide to you?
A: Without the support of MTAA Super and other funds, we would have no way to reach Indigenous people and help them reconnect with their super.
Our participants all say the same thing: how grateful they are that these organisations care enough to come to them, rather than direct them to an office that’s a nine-hour drive away.
This is backed up by research which shows that 75% of Indigenous Australians have struggled to access financial services in the past year. That’s a huge barrier to overcome.
Programs like the Big Super Day Out and the support of industry is an important first step to reversing this troubling figure.