How did a tiny charity of two people manage to find $24 million Indigenous superannuation in 21 Indigenous communities across six States?
Amanda Young, CEO of First Nations Foundation explains: "Never doubt a small group committed to financial wellbeing for Indigenous Australians!
“We have all the ingredients that are needed. We are agile, and we made a one-stop-shop caravan for all superannuation needs. We are trusted by both the Indigenous communities around Australia and the superannuation sector; and we are driven, because our First Nations people deserve their hard-earned work entitlements.”
With a specialist team of people from the Department of Human Services, the Australian Taxation Office and 14 superannuation fund volunteers, Amanda and project manager Emma McCashney led 45 people to seven communities in 2019, visiting Darwin, Kununurra, Broome, Gapuwiyak, Galiwin'ku, Milingimbi and Ramingining. There they met with Indigenous community partners who had prepared the way, including bringing in financial counsellors.
Along the way the Big Super Day Out broke record after record.
"The most superannuation we found in one day was $2.57 million in Kununurra, Emma said. “Our community partner Wunan generated so much interest, people drove six hours to see us. It was a pretty lively day in the park in Kununurra!"
“Each trip results in more superannuation being located and now we average above $1 million each day,” Young said. “In tiny Milingimbi, home of the 2019 Young Australian of the Year, Baker Boy, we helped a record-breaking 97 Yolngu people reconnect with $1.97 million of their super funds, located thanks to the promotion in Arnhem Land by ALPA, under CEO Alastair King's leadership."
First Nations Foundation is quick to point out it has had much help in refining its program with laser-like focus. ASIC helped the Foundation to develop a remote service model by leading an expedition into APY Lands in Central Australia, and bringing Firs Nations Foundation along as a partner. The Australian Tax Office placed a staff member on secondment in the Foundation to share knowledge. The AIST, as a superannuation peak body, has been the principal sponsor the past four years and its CEO Eva Scheerlinck has personally attended five events. Our other community partners have included MoneyMob Talkabout in central Australia, Cape York Partnerships, NCIE in Redfern and Broome Circle, and all have been invaluable in helping on the journey.
What was the critical factor for success?
"Trust. Indigenous people turned out in droves because they trust Indigenous non-profits when they hit town,” Chair of First Nations Foundation, Ian Hamm, explained. “Sadly, among Indigenous communities that trust is lacking when it comes to government and financial services, so we are proud to take a leadership role in bringing everyone together: with stunning outcomes. Just imagine what $24 million does to 21 small Indigenous community families."
First Nations Foundation has been overwhelmed with calls from Indigenous communities requesting a visit. It hopes to turn this into a national program, visit more locations and find hundreds of millions of Indigenous superannuation entitlements.
Maybe this is why First Nations Foundation has been nominated as Best Small Charity in Australia? They find out if they have won on 27 September 2019.
Do you think Big Super Day Out should become a national program? Vote here:
Many Indigenous Australians are not receiving a warning that if they have less than $6000 in a superannuation account, it will be on the move to the Australian Tax Office and when that happens, automatic insurance cover will be lost. First Nations Foundation is trying to alert people around the country to these changes, coming on 1 July 2019.
Amanda Young, CEO of First Nations Foundation said: "Now is the time to tell everyone you know to check their superannuation. First Nations people deserve to make informed choices". This includes whether people want to keep paying insurance premiums in case something happens and they can't work any more (called TPD or total permanent disability insurance) or to keep track of where their superannuation is going.
First Nations Foundation is the only non-profit that travels around Australia helping Indigenous people with their superannuation. Their Big Super Day Out program travels to Darwin, Kununurra and Broome in July 2019 and then to four remote Arnhem communities in August 2019.
For the ABC story on this go here: ABC story
For a website to help you decide what to do: timetocheck
Groundbreaking research by First Nations Foundation reveals the extent of financial disadvantage Indigenous Australians are struggling with. Chair Ian Hamm says it's not good enough. We think it is time to create a place where financial services, Indigenous communities and government can come together, collaborate and fix this. We need access to our money. We need education on financial products and services.
INDIGENOUS FINANCIAL RESILIENCE PUT TO THE TEST
In a ground-breaking collaboration between First Nations Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact, research into the financial position of Indigenous Australians has been released. Forming part of a research series conducted by one of Australia's largest banks, the National Australia Bank, the research tells us much work still has to be done but there is hope for a brighter future.
For the first time, the superannuation industry is helping give guides to people to understand how much superannuation they need. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers can now compare where they are with where they need to be. Check now, the sooner you get onto this the better. If you fall short, consider making contributions (extra payments). If you talk to your payroll they can explain how - you can do it before tax or after tax.
The national Indigenous financial foundation has been left scratching its head on how the Banking Royal Commission recommendations will fix a 43% financial exclusion rate for First Nations people. In a disappointing blow, very little has been done to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's and build Indigenous financial knowledge.
For our media release:
First Nations Foundation launches the Big Super Day Out 2018 video (Nov 2018).
Reaching 10 communities (of which 8 were very remote), First Nations Foundation helped reunite 1125 people with $14.5 million Indigenous superannuation. This is Indigenous worker's wages which have been lost, or in many cases, Indigenous people didn't realise they had!
Imagine how much we could find if we reached the estimated 320,000 Indigenous workers!!
If you are a superannuation fund, administrator or insurer and want to see more Indigenous people build their balances and get a better retirement outcome, sponsorship is now open for Northern Territory and Western Australia in 2019. Go here to register interest: BigSuperDayOut Interest