7.2 Evidence

During the fourth round of hearings, the Commission had heard that significant issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities were the barriers to their engagement with and ability to access their superannuation.

The Commission heard that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in such communities were unaware of their superannuation entitlements or experienced difficulty when accessing those entitlements, due to factors including geographical isolation, the ways in which superannuation funds have implemented identification requirements, and complexities associated with Indigenous kinship structures.[1]

During that round of hearings, Mr Nathan Boyle, a Senior Policy Analyst in ASIC’s Indigenous Outreach Program, told the Commission that in 2014, he and Ms Melcer visited the Lockhart River community in Far North Queensland.[2] Mr Boyle and Ms Melcer met with a significant number of people who were unable to access their superannuation entitlements, and provided those people with assistance.[3]

In the Commission’s fifth round of hearings, Ms Melcer gave evidence about her experience with the Lockhart River community, and about her involvement in QSuper and industry initiatives to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access their superannuation.[4]

QSuper estimated that 5,648 of its members identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.[5] An estimate was necessary because QSuper does not ask its members whether they identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.[6]

In relation to the trip to the Lockhart River community, Ms Melcer explained that she and Mr Boyle spent three days working with more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were members of QSuper, AMP, Sunsuper and LGIAsuper.[7] Ms Melcer and Mr Boyle assisted those people to complete superannuation-related forms, prepare supporting documentation and get in contact with their superannuation funds.[8]

Ms Melcer said that the people she assisted faced a number of distinct difficulties. Among other things, many people experienced difficulties in satisfying the identification requirements of superannuation funds; some did not have a valid driver’s licence, passport or birth certificate.[9] They also faced difficulties interacting with superannuation funds and completing paperwork, due in part to a lack of access to necessary technology, including computers and functioning photocopiers.[10] At least one person experienced difficulties proving his medical condition: it was hard for him to find two medical practitioners who could attest to his condition: his community was only visited by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.[11] In addition, at least one person had faced difficulties obtaining a death certificate for a relative within her kinship group, but outside her immediate family unit.[12] The difficulties were compounded by the fact that this person had to travel a significant distance to make inquiries about obtaining the death certificate.[13]

Ms Melcer told the Commission about steps that QSuper took to assist its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members upon her return from the Lockhart River community. QSuper conducted a search of members living in Far North Queensland with whom it had lost contact, and noticed that there were many duplicate records.[14] QSuper merged these duplicate records.[15] QSuper then conducted further research into its lost superannuation accounts with the assistance of electoral offices and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.[16] QSuper attempted to obtain contact details for the next of kin of members who had died, and wrote to members who it knew were over the preservation age.[17] The communications were written in a straightforward way, without using jargon.[18] The exercise undertaken by QSuper resulted in it reconnecting 80 people with lost superannuation totalling over $2 million, and paying out 17 estates valued at $1.7 million.[19] Ms Melcer’s evidence was that this exercise did not involve any additional cost to QSuper, and did not require any additional resources.[20] Ms Melcer said that she viewed it as an obligation of QSuper to ensure that members can get the[ir] money when they need it.[21]

Ms Melcer said that the steps taken by QSuper had led to members of other superannuation funds contacting QSuper, after which QSuper referred those people to the relevant fund.[22] However, QSuper’s ability to assist members of other funds had since been diminished as a result of reforms associated with the MyGov platform.[23] She said that the process of reconnecting people with lost superannuation had been undertaken by QSuper by using the ATO website but now can be done only through the MyGov platform and only by the person concerned.[24]

Since Ms Melcer’s trip to the Lockhart River community, Ms Melcer has raised awareness within QSuper of issues affecting its vulnerable members, including its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members living in remote communities.[25] Ms Melcer has also engaged in broader advocacy work, including through the Indigenous Superannuation Working Group (ISWG).[26]

Ms Melcer explained that in 2016, following a recommendation discussed at the 2015 ISWG Summit,[27] the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) released a compliance guidance protocol for the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (AUSTRAC Guidance).[28] Ms Melcer provided feedback on drafts of the AUSTRAC Guidance.[29] When Ms Melcer was asked about the steps that QSuper had taken to ensure that its front line employees understood and implemented the AUSTRAC Guidance, she said that QSuper was committed to ensuring that it was as flexible as possible in respect of identification requirements for its vulnerable members, including its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.[30] Ms Melcer provided the Commission with an example of a letter that QSuper had received from a community legal centre on Mornington Island, Queensland, which contained various details about one of its clients, as an alternative form of identification.[31] Ms Melcer said that it was not an impost at all for QSuper to offer these types of alterative verification procedures.[32]

Ms Melcer was asked about ways to improve the experience of vulnerable people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities, with superannuation.[33] Ms Melcer provided a number of suggestions.

In the context of binding nominations, Ms Melcer identified that legislation currently only permits a person to nominate their legal personal representative or dependent to receive death benefits.[34] Ms Melcer suggested that the definition of dependent should be expanded in a way that accommodates the kinship structures operating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.[35]

Ms Melcer also gave evidence that some funds do not permit the early release of superannuation funds on the ground of severe financial hardship.[36] Ms Melcer recognised that these types of claims were the most difficult claims to assess, but said that it was absolutely not an impost for QSuper to offer early release on this basis, because the members who make such claims are in a situation where they need [their funds].[37]

Ms Melcer was asked whether it would be beneficial to lower the preservation age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.[38] Ms Melcer did not consider that to be desirable, but suggested that lower life expectancy could be taken into account in other ways.[39] For example, Ms Melcer suggested that it could be used by trustees and medical professionals in the course of assessing TPD claims.[40]

In response to a question about whether superannuation funds should ask their members whether they consider themselves to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Ms Melcer said that this should not be mandatory.[41] Ms Melcer said that QSuper strive[s] to really understand the person that we’re talking to and solving [problems] for that member, and as a result of that approach, QSuper did not need to collect information about the background of its members in this way.[42]

Finally, when asked what measures superannuation funds could take to assist vulnerable members, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and regional communities, Ms Melcer made a number of suggestions, all of which were focused on the need for funds to understand their members.[43]


[1] Transcript, Lynda Edwards, 3 July 2018, 3719; Transcript, Nathan Boyle, 3 July 2018, 37202.

[2] Transcript, Nathan Boyle, 3 July 2018, 3757.

[3] Transcript, Nathan Boyle, 3 July 2018, 3757.

[4] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4713–21.

[5] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4712.

[6] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4712.

[7] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4714.

[8] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4718.

[9] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4714.

[10] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4715.

[11] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 471516.

[12] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4717.

[13] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4717.

[14] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4718.

[15] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4718.

[16] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4718.

[17] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4718–19.

[18] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4721; Exhibit 5.141, 13 August 2018, Draft Letter to Member.

[19] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4719.

[20] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4719.

[21] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4719.

[22] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4719–20.

[23] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4720.

[24] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4720.

[25] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4720.

[26] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4721.

[27] Exhibit 5.143, 13 August 2018, Report of Indigenous Superannuation Summit July 2015; Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4723.

[28] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4723.

[29] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4723.

[30] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4723.

[31] Exhibit 5.144, 13 August 2018, Identity Declaration, Junkuri Laka, Mornington Island.

[32] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4724.

[33] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4726.

[34] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4726.

[35] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4726.

[36] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4727.

[37] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4727.

[38] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4727.

[39] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4727–8.

[40] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4727.

[41] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4728.

[42] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4728.

[43] Transcript, Lynette Melcer, 13 August 2018, 4729.

98 thoughts on “7.2 Evidence”

  1. Pingback: stromectol 6mg
  2. Pingback: oral ivermectin
  3. Pingback: buy stromectol
  4. Pingback: ivermectin kaufen
  5. Pingback: cheap cialis india
  6. Pingback: ivermectin iv
  7. Pingback: ivermectin generic
  8. Pingback: viagra cialis
  9. Pingback: lasix 40
  10. Pingback: otc ivermectin
  11. Pingback: cialis generic
  12. Pingback: cialis pills
  13. Pingback: cheap cialis india
  14. Pingback: molpunavir
  15. Pingback: le cialis
  16. Pingback: ivermectin lotion
  17. Pingback: cialis tablet
  18. Pingback: generic for cialis
  19. Pingback: how to get viagra
  20. Pingback: how to use viagra
  21. Pingback: tadalafil femme
  22. Pingback: ivermectin trial
  23. Pingback: cheap tadalafil
  24. Pingback: buy viagra online
  25. Pingback: ivermectin 10 mg
  26. Pingback: stromectol kaufen
  27. Pingback: lasix tablet 20 mg
  28. Pingback: lasix uk buy
  29. Pingback: cdc ivermectin
  30. Pingback: play luckyland
  31. Pingback: ivermectin ebay
  32. Pingback: ivermectin sale
  33. Pingback: confeitofilm

Feedback