Supporting remote members
24 July 2019
QSuper, visited Thursday Island during NAIDOC week to host a free community event providing superannuation education as well as a range of other services.
Jason Murray, QSuper’s Chief of Member Experience, said the event was the first of its kind hosted by QSuper, with the breadth of partners attending providing a one-stop-shop for accessing services not necessarily readily available on the island.
“QSuper has a large number of members based on Thursday Island and surrounding islands, most of whom have worked or are currently working for Queensland Government. We are excited to be able to provide a free service to our members and the entire community to help educate them about super, as well as provide access to a range of other services”, he said.
Many attendees on the day discovered they had a lot more superannuation than they realised, including many who were nearing retirement and unsure about when they could retire.
For one attendee who was keen to retire in the next few years, the QSuper team uncovered that he actually had an old State Account, which means he can access his money now and has a pension for life.
Another attendee dropped by to check how much super she had. She had no idea that she had over $300,000 in her account, accumulated from working for the Queensland Government for many years.
The event was not exclusive to QSuper members.
“We made it clear when we announced the event that it was open to everyone, not just to QSuper members,” said Murray.
“We were able to help almost 200 attendees understand how much super they have, how much insurance they have and some of the actions they could take to improve their retirement outcome.”
Supporting regional members
In 2018 QSuper’s commitment to service members in remote communities was a specific and positive focus of part of the (Banking) Royal Commission hearings.
QSuper’s Head of Technical Advice, Lyn Melcer, travelled to the APY Lands in early 2018, visiting two communities with ASIC’s1 Indigenous Outreach Program. She also travelled to Lockhart River in 2014, and outlined to Commissioner Hayne some of the specific challenges that remote Australians face when interacting with their superannuation, as well as some of the ways that QSuper is working to overcome these challenges.
“It’s about meeting members, listening to their stories and understanding their needs, and finding practical ways to overcome obstacles which prevent members from accessing and engaging with their superannuation,” said Melcer.
Obstacles can include a lack of access to technology, medical practitioners, officials available to certify documentation, and even the ability to download and print documents.
The Lockhart River trip alone resulted in resulted in more than $2.8 million of lost super being reunited with members, over 200 multiple accounts being merged and more than $2.3 million in deceased estates being finalized.
The Thursday Island event in July was supported by a number of partners providing a broad range of services including the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN), Registry of Births/Deaths/Marriages, Good Shepherd Microfinance and Good Shepherd No Interest Loans Scheme.
All of our partners are keen to be involved in future events, and we look forward to rolling out similar events to other communities over the coming years.
1 Australian Securities and Investment Commission, June 2018, Indigenous Outreach trip to the APY Lands podcast, accessed 3 September 2018 at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/indigenous/indigenous-outreach-program