Final farewell for industry association

After more than 96 years as a recognised industry association, members of the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers of Australia have come together for the last time.

About 100 of the industry body's remaining members attended its final meeting - a special general meeting - in Canberra earlier this week where the decision to wind up the association was formalised.

Liquidator RSM Australia Partners has been engaged to assist in the process.

SCOA was first established in 1923 as a coalition of state bodies representing the interests of former public sector employees in receipt of a defined benefit pension as part of the now-closed Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme and Public Sector Superannuation schemes.

In recent years, the body has predominantly advocated for changing the means by which CSS and PSS pensions are fairly indexed to ensure they matched the cost of living index. The pensions also remain taxable despite super income being designated tax-free in 2007.

In the 1980s, SCOA had close to 50,000 members. Now, with the average age of its membership having reached life expectancy, its membership totals just 4000.

Members also approved a special resolution as to what would be done with SCOA's surplus funds.

Earlier this year, SCOA president Peter Illidge told Financial Standard the association expected to have about $100,000 upon closing, which it wanted to pass on to a like-minded organisation.

In all, about $60,000 remains and will now be distributed with members voting in favour of splitting the funds four ways.

The Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations will receive $30,000, while National Seniors and SA Superannuants will receive $10,000 each.

The Council of the Ageing in the ACT, Queensland and Victoria will also receive $10,000 to be distributed pro-rata on the basis of SCOA membership in each state.

In his last message to members, Illidge said the wind-up process reminded him of the huge contribution of all involved with the association, both past and present.

"I was reminded too that SCOA's lack of success was never due to SCOA's efforts but to a consistent, obdurate and callous attitude to their ex-employees by governments of both persuasions," he wrote.

"They always understood their obligation that their ex-employees' defined benefit pensions were to be adjusted to a cost of living index but never acknowledged it."

In its final member newsletter, SCOA wrote: "SCOA Australia, in a number of different guises since 1923, played the music for nearly one hundred years, ably accompanied by our many members, our volunteers, consultants, many different service providers and office staff."

"The music spanned many different genres, it was sometimes melodic, sometimes very loud, sometimes a symphony, then 'good ol' times' rock 'n' roll, intermixed with serenades and some opera thrown in the mix.

"In the beginning, we believe that someone listened, but the audience grew thin along with the members of SCOA's orchestra, and the music stopped."

This week it was confirmed that CSS and PSS indexed pensions will increase by 0.5% from July 4.

Read more: Superannuated Commonwealth Officers of AustraliaSCOA AustraliaAustralian Council of Public Sector Retiree OrganisationsPeter IllidgeCommonwealth Superannuation SchemeFinancial StandardRSM Australia PartnersNational SeniorsSA Superannuants
Link to something s2C6Xhzf