What’s the best way to engage remote community residents with their superannuation?
Break down some of the barriers to access and bring your services to them! That’s what QSuper did when it spent a week with community peoples up in the Northern Peninsula Area (located at the top tip of Cape York, Queensland), on January 20th-24th, in partnership with ICAN financial counsellors, the Indigenous financial inclusion team at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and lawyers from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS).
The QSuper mobile service week comprised a coordinated approach to service delivery and is a great example of how services can work together to achieve greater outcomes for Indigenous peoples living remotely. Each service provided coordinated support to NPA residents in a triage approach. When people came in to visit the services during the community days, their issues were first heard by a support worker who then directed them to the best possible service. Additionally, if financial counselling or legal issues were identified during a session with QSuper, ICAN financial counsellors and ATSILS staff were on-hand to address the matter(s).
“It was a great experience to travel to the Northern Peninsula Area with the ICAN team for the ‘Meet the Services’ week. ICAN’s connections on the ground helped to facilitate the trust of the people from the NPA communities, so we were able to hit the ground running,” said Graeme Marrinan from QSuper.
“Being able to work with our members in their own communities, gave QSuper insight into some of the issues and barriers met by our members. We had many queries, financial hardship matters, consolidations, binding death benefit nominations, death benefit claims and lost super searches,” said Rhonda Coghlan, QSuper Regional Business Development Manager. “We further assisted members to access lost super and roll over pre-existing super accounts into one. We were also able to lend a hand for non-QSuper members, by helping them call their own superannuation companies with their queries.”
For Eddie Buli, Indigenous Financial Inclusion Lead at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, the community days means greater access to much needed services, such as Good Money’s No Interest Loans (NILS). “The biggest thing for me being involved with the QSuper Community Days, is that we bring our services collaboratively to our Indigenous communities in the one place, in that one time for our mob to access,” said Eddie. “Sometimes our mob don’t know that a service exists or how to access them, being in a remote area. It can be daunting to deal with services over the phone, so having that face-to-face contact like we did in the NPA was a great way for people to both address their financial issues and learn more about getting access to NILS loans.”
Comprehensive community initiatives that involve a number of organisations – like the NPA service week with QSuper – have a number of benefits. First, is the ability to be able to address the financial and consumer issues facing many NPA community residents, whom do not often have access to financial counselling.
“We very quickly realised that there was a huge demand,” said Sharon Edwards, ICAN Financial Counsellor. “Word of our services quickly spread throughout the five communities and there was a great community response during the week.”
Second, is how each service can complement each other. With the coordinated services seeing more than one hundred people throughout the week, ICAN financial counsellors were able to support the local ATSILS workers by assisting in twenty-eight financial counselling-related matters including assisting people to get their pre-paid power cards replaced, telco and other debt issues, and vehicle and related finance matters. Yarnin’ Money staff also delivered two financial capability training sessions in Bamaga, with thirty-six CDEP participants and staff from the NPA Family and Community Services Corporation, attending over the two days.
“I really enjoyed our trip to Bamaga and the surrounding communities, assisting in sharing information on Car Smart, budgeting and promoting our Financial Counselling service, said Unaisi Buli, ICAN Financial Counsellor. “I look forward to continuing assisting and advocating for our Clients that have attended the Community Day event in NPA.”
For local NPA resident Lionel Solomon, bringing the coordinated financial counselling services to the NPA was welcome.“It’s a good thing!” said Lionel. “I only get to Cairns once every two years and it’s too hard to fix these things when you’re living in the bush.”
ICAN will be providing a series of place-based community days in 2020. Keep up to date with our e-news to find out when we’ll be heading to your community!