First Nations Foundation


Super system needs Indigenous leaders

The First Nations people of Australia provided the foundation for this country and remind us every day what can be achieved through focus on community and celebrating what that community can achieve.

This is the ethos that we follow at Cbus. Our members are at the centre of everything we do and our focus on the community we serve – the building and construction, and allied industries – is constantly inspired by the First Nations people of this land.

There are First Nation voices throughout our business, including at the most senior levels of the fund, where we are proud that Kara Keys provides her unique insight for the benefit of Cbus members.

Cbus’ board member Kara is a descendant of the Yiman and Gangulu peoples of central Queensland and her experience as the ACTU Indigenous Officer and leading campaigns as an ACTU national campaign coordinator, provides invaluable insight to Cbus’ focus on its members, and the unique needs of the fund’s First Nation members.

This insight also extends to the work she does as the Chair of Cbus’ People Culture and Remuneration Committee and her work with our Investments Team and Responsible Investment Team.

Communication is a key strategy to ensure the Fund’s success and to highlight issues of importance.

For example, Cbus has recently been in contact with Rio Tinto to be clear that sacred sites of First Nations peoples should be protected. This is a very serious issue and we feel, through our early engagement with Rio, that the company understands the gravity of the situation. Cbus has similar concerns regarding a mine development in Gunnedah in New South Wales.  

We are asking all global and domestic advisors to include this important issue in their engagement with mining companies.

Communication directly with members is a central focus for Cbus. We put a lot of effort into the many programs we have, such as newsletters, emails and contact centre.

In 2019 Cbus set up a dedicated contact centre, where First Nations members can speak with staff who have received additional training in cultural awareness and how to understand and address the needs and inquires of these members.

Education is another central focus, so that members can make fully informed decisions about their superannuation. Cbus is proud to be in a partnership with the First Nations Foundation, which has enabled a website to be developed for First Nations people.

It will be housed at and the content will be designed to provide clear and straightforward information for First Nations people to find out about super. Superannuation can be a difficult topic to understand. It is a financial product that most working Australians contribute to, because it is compulsory, so demystifying some elements of superannuation is important. 

Many topics will be covered such as a general explanation about superannuation and who you need to contact, should you want to find out more about your account.

Having multiple superannuation accounts in different funds, can be an issue to look at. Consolidating all those accounts into one can save the member fees.

One of the key messages we try to get across to our members is that because their money is with Cbus for many years, they can benefit from compound interest which grows their savings.

Another key potential benefit from super is insurance. Cbus provides insurance for all its eligible members who want it. It comes in two forms – death and total and permanent disability – and can provide great reassurance to members and their families, that they will be looked after in the event of death or where a serious, permanent disability occurs.

Cbus has an ongoing commitment to reconciliation. Recently the Fund employed Rory Smeaton, to manage the development and evolution of Cbus’ Reconciliation Action Plan and provide advice on the strategic policy direction of the Fund.

Rory is a Kurnai man from Gippsland and specialist in Indigenous Employment and Education. He is passionate about creating new employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and through his experience makes significant contributions at Cbus.

Cbus is delighted to have such high-quality advice from Kara and Rory, which will continue to inform our strategies to help our members make the most of their superannuation. At Cbus we are all about our members and ensuring they can maximise the opportunity to have the retirement they deserve.

I encourage all readers of this newsletter from First Nations Foundation to spend time thinking about how their super can best work for them. and are great resources to help.