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Real change needed to address Indigenous super gap

The 27 per cent gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians’ super balances needs addressing, the regulator has said, announcing an outreach trip it hopes will help bridge the gap.  

“It shouldn't matter if you live in a remote area or if English isn't your first language – everyone should be able to easily get information about, and access to, their super,” said the deputy chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Peter Kell.

Speaking to mark the beginning of ASIC’s outreach trip to South Australia’s remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands, scheduled to go from 28 May to 2 June, Mr Kell said he hopes the trip will lead to concrete change.

According to research from the CSIRO-Monash Superannuation Cluster and Griffith Business School, there persists a 27 per cent gap in average superannuation balances upon retirement.

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However, this research acknowledged there were significant gaps in data around Indigenous super.

One of the researchers, Dr Robert Bianchi, said it’s time for the ABS and ATO to provide more data on this group’s uptake and experience with the mandatory system.

Indigenous outreach officer at ASIC Nathan Boyle said the industry has made some progress but “first-hand appreciation of the remaining barriers” would help the industry develop “innovative solutions to ensure that all Indigenous Australians are able to access and manage their superannuation entitlements”.

Joining ASIC on the visit are Australian Super, HESTA, Super SA, QSuper and Prime Super. The trip has been organised with MoneyMob Talkabout, a non-profit organisation aimed at improving remote-living Indigenous Australians’ financial literacy, and First Nations Foundation, an Indigenous financial literacy charity.

ASIC noted that Indigenous communities face particular challenges in using super as a result of language and communication barriers, difficulty accessing identification documents and lower levels of financial literacy.

The representatives from the super funds will speak with the communities with the help of translators. ASIC noted that access to translators is also not always easy to arrange, taking up to two weeks for a telephone interpreter.

The time-lag can also be exacerbated by interpreters’ similar levels of low financial literacy.

Real change needed to address Indigenous super gap
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