media release


18 May 2023


HESTA supports Voice to Parliament referendum



HESTA has pledged its support for the recognition of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.


HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the upcoming referendum to establish the Voice to Parliament was an important opportunity to accept the invitation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to move forward together as a country towards reconciliation.


“The Voice to Parliament is our chance to collectively create a stronger and more vibrant future where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the constitutional right to ‘have a say’ on legislation that affects them,” Ms Blakey said.


“Our members work primarily in health and community services and see firsthand the devastating consequences of the systemic disadvantage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face.


“As an investor, we also understand that strong and respectful stakeholder relationships are fundamental to good governance and long-term, sustainable value creation, which can lead to improved member outcomes. That’s why for many years, we’ve supported the Uluru Statement and its ambition to create a Voice to Parliament.”


Ms Blakey said HESTA has a unique role to play as a national member-based organisation, a leader in the provision of superannuation, and a Fund dedicated to the health and community services sector.


“HESTA has over one million members across the country. We’ve strived to listen to and understand HESTA members’ and colleagues’ views on reconciliation,” Ms Blakey said.


“We’re also committed to increasing our ability to practically advance equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through how we act as an organisation, by using our influence in the superannuation industry and by investing with impact.”


The $72 billion industry super fund launched its 2023-25 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). HESTA was one of the first major superannuation fund to implement a RAP in 2015.


HESTA initiatives to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and advance reconciliation include:


  • Public advocacy for better legal frameworks to strengthen cultural heritage protection, including through policy submissions and appearances at Parliamentary inquiries.


  • A founding supporter of the historic Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative that is developing guidelines and resources for investors and businesses on respectful partnering with Traditional Owners to mitigate the risk of poor cultural heritage protection.


  • Joining the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) Indigenous Superannuation Working Group (ISWG) and the First Nations Foundation Working Group to improve equity in retirement.


  • Shining a spotlight on the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives through the launch of Caring and Community, a publication celebrating the pivotal contributions of these professionals to Australia’s healthcare system.




Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager - Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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