The Acting President of SCOA Australia, John Blount, today announced that SCOA’s National Committee has recommended that the organisation cease operations by the end of June 2019.
SCOA AUSTRALIA CLOSURE STATEMENT
It is with much regret and a heavy heart that SCOA is announcing that SCOA Australia National Committee at its meeting on 9 August 2018 made the difficult in principle decision to close the organisation at the end of June 2019.
The Committee has had to confront the awkward reality of the future of SCOA Australia, given the age profile of its members and the effect of consequent declining membership. The inexorable pressure of demographics and finances over a number of years have made this inevitable at some point; it has only been a matter of timing. Our present membership is ageing, and paid membership is falling by an average of around 11% p.a.
The changing nature of public sector retirement schemes, from the old CSS and PSS, has apparently diminished interest by many public servants in our core concerns, with all new government employees now joining the PSS accumulation scheme. It is also the fact that the whole workplace context has changed, so that for many the public sector is no longer a life-long career. The average duration of a PSS member is between 6-8 years. Public sector superannuation arrangements are only one aspect of their overall superannuation and financial arrangements. Various strategies, including the creation of SCOA Australia as a national body in 2012, have slowed but failed to reverse this trend.
The perceived poor prospect for any significant indexation reform in the reasonably foreseeable future has not assisted. Nor has our voice been strengthened by the falling membership numbers. All of this has been reflected in the persistent and increasing difficulty in filling voluntary positions at all levels (including an insufficiency of nominations for the full National Committee).
The National Committee has also continued to monitor SCOA’s financial situation.
SCOA’s income relies upon membership subscriptions. These are no longer sufficient to cover SCOA Australia’s running costs, even after an ongoing program to reduce costs wherever possible. Even taking into account our reserves, it did not appear possible to continue to operate effectively beyond sometime in 2020 at the very latest.
Unfortunately, all the information before the Committee led in the same direction and towards the inevitable conclusion. The Committee considered and rejected as impractical moving to a significantly scaled down operation. To properly administer membership and to service members we need essentially the present sized operation. The unfortunate reality is that there is simply not the critical mass to carry on meaningfully.
The view of the National Committee was that it would be more responsible to close in an orderly fashion while still reasonably effective and financially solvent, rather than to delay a year or two and end up in futility and possible insolvency. The Committee believes that it would not be fair or reasonable for SCOA to accept any further subscriptions or donations once this decision has been made. This then led to the conclusion that SCOA cease operations on 30 June 2019.
The recommendation will be put to members through a Special Resolution in accordance with Rules 42.1 and 42.2, at a Special General Meeting which we anticipate would be held in Canberra in 2019. Members will be kept informed in this regard in the next issues of SuperTime.
All the National Committee members are dismayed at this unfortunate turn of events. We all knew SCOA had a limited life but we hoped we could at least reach its 100th birthday in 2023. However the continuing decline in membership has put paid to that hope.
Although SCOA has achieved a great deal for members over the years, we have to admit that governments of both persuasions have won out in their refusal to give us fair treatment, in particular with regard to indexation. This is our biggest disappointment. Our members are entitled to not trust the main parties again on this issue.
In spite of the fact that SCOA’s credibility must be adversely affected by news of imminent closure, we will continue to press both government and opposition with representations for fair treatment in indexation, taxation and some social security issues. SCOA owes that to the many members both past and present who have faithfully supported SCOA and encouraged us in our efforts.
Thank you all for your many years of loyal support for this organisation. We have more to be proud of than to regret.
SCOA Australia Incorporated
10 September 2018