Call for super to heed Indigenous kinship
The incoming Labor government must recognise all family structures in superannuation laws to honour the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, an Indigenous advocacy group says.
The Indigenous Superannuation Working Group (ISWG) said on Friday it would lobby the federal government for recognition of kinship structures to enable distribution of savings after death.
The call for reform comes amid National Reconciliation Week, themed “Be Brave, Make Change”, which the group is challenging the incoming government to be and do.
“These relationships, which are critically important to the cultural identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, are not recognised in superannuation law,” chair Eva Scheerlinck said.
This impacts on who an account holder can nominate to receive their super after they die, or to whom a trustee can distribute a member’s super after their death.
The banking royal commission called attention to the issue but there has been no progress, she said.
In his final report, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne noted “some Australians encounter difficulties gaining access to and making effective use of some aspects of the superannuation system”.
Treasury hosted consultations after he urged the former government to look into difficulties about death benefit nominations.
“We will lobby the new government to re-prioritise this piece of work,” Ms Scheerlinck said at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Indigenous Outreach Program roundtable.
“This is a very exciting time for us to be thinking about shifting the outcomes for our First Nations people, as since Saturday’s Federal election, there are more Indigenous people represented in our parliament than ever before.”
The working group brings together industry, government and community organisations, including representatives of the Indigenous community, the superannuation industry and life insurers.
Ms Scheerlinck, CEO of the peak body Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, is also backing Financial Counselling Australia’s call for tax reform that would allow the Australian Taxation Office to disclose the name of the super fund holding an account for someone who has died.
“Current settings impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members disproportionately,” she said.
The ATO is prevented from providing this information to anyone other than the legal personal representative, which creates a problem when the deceased person does not have one.
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