Phone 1800 444 396
Post GPO Box 264, Brisbane QLD 4001

Helping MATES across the state

16 December 2022

Brighter Super’s frontline team has spent the past two months traveling around Queensland with our partners from MATES in Energy to help promote suicide prevention and mental and financial wellbeing to workers in energy and electricity.

During the current round of events, the fund has delivered financial literacy, insurance and superannuation tips and support to staff in workplaces from as far north as Mareeba to Charleville in the west – and many places in between. 

Brighter Super Head of Growth and Relationships, Ben Moles, said more than 300 members had attended the events, which were part of the fund’s ongoing partnership with MATES in Energy. The partnership was recently renewed for three years to June 30, 2025.   Earlier this year, we sent this letter* confirming the continuation of the partnership from 1 July 2022 until 2025. This partnership went through the review process required under new laws introduced in late 2021. 

“With significant changes going on in the energy industry, combined with mortgage interest rates at 10-year highs, many members are feeling less financially secure now than they were even during COVID,” he said.

“The link between financial security and mental health is strong, and arming members with the information and services they need to be financially fit – as well as providing mental health support when they need it – helps build real resilience in the energy community.

“MATES in Energy provides a critical service, particularly during times like these, and it’s no exaggeration to say that their work saves lives.”

Mr Moles said an important way Brighter Super was supporting the cause behind the scenes was by working with MATES in Energy to deliver “General Awareness” and “Connector Training” to the fund’s frontline staff. 

“Our contact centre team members can be some of the first people our members talk to during stressful, life-changing moments like illness, injury, relationship breakdowns or job changes,” he said.

“Our staff are trained to help them recognise mental health risks and warning signs and refer members to MATES in Energy when they may need more support. Our staff are also trained to recognise and act on mental health risks to support their colleagues.” 

Mr Moles said while he was delighted that the fund’s partnership with MATES in Energy had been renewed from 1 July 2022, he was concerned that some fund members had reported receiving the opposite information. 

“Our partnership with MATES in Energy has continued through our merger and beyond,” he said.

“Earlier this year, the partnership went through a painstaking but standard review process that is required for all partnerships under strict new laws.

“While this process was different, slower and more onerous than in previous years, our support and funding for MATES was never discontinued. 

“Our board, executives and team members are united in supporting MATES. It is a cause very close to our hearts personally and we are looking forward to everything we will achieve together for our members in the next 2.5 years.” 

Frequently asked questions 

  • How long is this partnership?
    Our fund’s partnership agreement with MATES in Energy is for three years. As is standard for all Brighter Super partnerships, the contract is divided into multiple 12-month periods, each with its own requirements and outcomes against which we need to report. The reason for this is outlined below. 
  • Is Brighter Super planning to exit the partnership after one year?
    No. The Trustee is required by law to review the terms of the agreement on an ongoing basis (and at least annually), having regard to the relevant prudential and regulatory obligations at the time. 
  • Has Brighter Super exited or tried to exit the partnership at any time?
  • Why was there uncertainty reported in the industry around the renewal of this partnership?
    New laws governing expenditure on marketing and sponsorships in superannuation funds were introduced in late 2021. To ensure all our partnerships comply with the new, stricter rules, Brighter Super has been going through a detailed process of developing a business case, plan and measurement framework for each partnership before renewing the agreement. Our partners and key stakeholders are informed about the importance of this process and that no partnerships can proceed without meeting these requirements. We acknowledge that this unavoidably adds uncertainty; however, we work closely with our partners through this process to make it as smooth as possible.  
  • Why the uncertainty? Isn’t preventing suicide obviously in the best interest of members?
    Superannuation funds must be able to objectively prove that every partnership delivers financial benefit and is in the best financial interests of all members of the fund. Under the new laws, funds cannot enter into partnerships where financial benefits for members cannot be proven simply because boards or executives believe they are a worthwhile cause. 
  • Was union pressure the reason the partnership was renewed? 
    No. Brighter Super’s executives and board are bound to act in members’ best financial interests. Every partnership must meet the Members’ Best Financial Interest criteria and go through the appropriate process. Pressure from any party will not speed up this process or change the outcome.    
  • What role did the ETU play in securing this partnership for MATES in Energy and Brighter Super?
    During the most recent contracting process, Brighter Super contacted the ETU for help supplying data and information for the business case mentioned above. The ETU did not provide the requested assistance or supply supporting data and information.
  • Did individuals within the fund try to end the partnership during the review?
    No. The partnership was endorsed by the members of the team who work with MATES in Energy and the business case was submitted to the board and endorsed by the CEO, then the board, as being in the best financial interests of members. 
  • What should I do if I am told to exit the fund because of reported issues involving MATES in Energy?
    Check the facts, seek independent financial advice, and contact the fund to report the conduct. 


* Published with permission from MATES in Energy