Kara Keys, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Indigenous officer, told NITV News that Indigenous people “are going to pass away before they retire and can actually access their superannuation”.
Ms Keys says the ACTU wants the government to change current policies to coincide with their life expectancy.
“It’s a situation that we can do something practical about to help Australian workers have a secure and dignified retirement,” she says.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows Indigenous Australians on average live 10 years less than other Australians. However, Gerry Georgatos of the Institute of Social Justice and Human Rights cites the gap is more than double that.
Mr Georgatos told NITV News that the ABS reached its estimate by presuming how long people who were born between 2010 and 2012 will live. His estimate, however, is based on the median age Indigenous people lived in 2014.
Ged Kearney, the president of the ACTU, says changing superannuation regulations for Indigenous Australians is a human right.
“A comfortable retirement after a lifetime of work and service to your community is something that all Australians should be able to expect,” she told NITV News.
“These proposed changes would simply ensure that Indigenous workers are able to enjoy their retirement savings in the same way that the non-Indigenous population does.”
It was one of five measures outlined in a report titled ‘Our Voice, Our Future’ for the government to adopt to improve the life of Indigenous Australians.
The others were reinstating funding to Indigenous organisations, eradicating “discrimination” within the work-for-the- dole program in remote communities, more consulting with Indigenous communities in policymaking, and reducing the cost of living in regional areas.