The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) has welcomed new guidance which makes it easier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to access the superannuation system.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) recently released updated guidance for businesses to help meet the requirements under customer identification laws.
“The updated guidance clarifies obligations relating to the identification of people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background,” said AUSTRAC.
AIST Executive Manager for Governance & Stewardship, Eva Scheerlinck, said the guidance encourages superannuation funds to look at more flexible approaches to identification requirements, including alternative forms of identification.
“Currently, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have difficulty accessing their superannuation benefits due to the rigid structure of identification requirements – many of which can be difficult to access,” said Ms Scheerlinck.
“Promoting flexibility is an important step in creating a more inclusive superannuation system that caters to all members.”
The guidance says: “AUSTRAC recommends that, where appropriate, reporting entities consider adopting a flexible approach to the identification and verification of persons of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage, while remaining mindful of social and cultural sensitivities. This may include using ‘reliable and independent’ means of alternative identification for customers of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage.”
Ms Scheerlinck said the guidance was developed in consultation with the financial services sector and other Australian Government agencies.
“While there are still a number challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in regards to superannuation and retirement outcomes, this work is evidence that with a collaborative approach between Government, industry and those experiencing difficulties with accessing their superannuation, some of barriers around super and identification can be removed,” said Ms Scheerlinck.